LA MESA, Calif. (KGTV) - Hundreds of La Mesa neighbors came out to clean up and board up businesses Sunday morning.
Albert's Fresh Mexican Food owner Albert Garzon said he saw his business get destroyed Saturday night, "there's nothing you can do about it but just watch, it was just so much chaos and just people running left and right."
He said when he came back his business was being boarded up by volunteers.
"Under the circumstances with the COVID to make matters worse for all these poor business owners that are barely making ends meet before this even started," Garzon said.
The entire La Mesa Springs Shopping Center was covered in boards, provided by a local construction company, Meram Building.
"Before I even got here my business was clean, it was so many volunteers and I was, literally I had tears in my eyes," Chintu Patel, Owner of Menchie's, said.
Both Patel and Garzon were thankful to see support, their heartbreak replaced with gratitude and a sense of perseverance.
"What the people of La Mesa have come out to do for their community is priceless and that's why we're keeping strong and we're La Mesa strong," Garzon said.
Neighbors swept up glass, threw out trash and did anything that was needed. About a dozen formed a human assembly line moving merchandise so Play It Again Sports could secure their building.
"Yesterday there were signs there was rock throwing there was vulgarity, there was accusations against the police, look at today, today there's brooms, there's shovels." Volunteer Mike Raleigh said.
An officer said he saw off duty officers in plain clothes helping in the clean up.
One neighbor said the reason people became violent Saturday was because that is the only way they felt their message could be heard or inflicting as much pain as they've felt through racism in their lives.