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Group aims to curb youth gang violence after deadly Escondido stabbing

Posted at 11:20 PM, Jun 10, 2024

ESCONDIDO, Calif. (KGTV) — The City of Escondido has seen a slight spike in violent juvenile crimes in recent months, according to the police department, some of which police are investigating as possibly gang-related.

Last week, a teen was stabbed and killed in a possible gang-related incident.

Friends identified the victim as Kayden Romo. He was just days away from his 8th-grade graduation. On Saturday, police arrested two teens for his death.

Police suspect the stabbing was gang-related, but those who knew him say Romo wasn’t involved.

Now, Escondido police have shared statistics that show a slight upward trend in violent juvenile crimes in the city.

In 2022 the department has 54 violent juvenile crime arrests, compared to 55 in 2023. So far, in 2024, the department says they have had 26 violent juvenile arrests, averaging 5.2 a month.

Investigators tell ABC 10News that they’re concerned about the uptick this summer with school out.

Organizations like Compact in Escondido exist in the community to help fight this type of violence.

Compact partners with the police department and the city to offer youth everything from workforce development, intervention programs, mentoring and counseling.

Mirjana Rodriguez is Compact's program director and has a message for teens in trouble.

"Give yourself an opportunity to not be another life loss; give yourself an opportunity to just explore another future," says Rodriguez

The teens arrested for Romo’s death are just 16 and 17 years old; they’re facing murder charges with a gang enhancement allegation.