CHULA VISTA, Calif. (CNS) - The shootings of two teenage boys in less than a week at Sunset View Park are not believed to be related and the victims were involved in "illegal activity" before the shootings, Chula Vista police said Thursday.
The police department statement was issued in response to resident concerns regarding the March 6 injury shooting of a 15-year-old boy and the March 11 fatal shooting of a 17-year-old boy at the Eastlake park.
Neither victim has been publicly identified, though police said the boys were not Chula Vista residents.
The statement was released one day after Chula Vista Mayor Mary Casillas-Salas issued her own response to concerns over local law enforcement resources, including calls for an additional police substation in the eastern portion of the city, near where the park is located.
According to Chula Vista police, on March 6, at around 8:30 p.m., the 15-year-old victim arranged for a family member to take him shopping, though he actually had "negotiated an illegal transaction" with another person and intended to meet with him at the park.
The boy then claimed he needed to use the bathroom and the family member dropped him off at the park, police said, citing statements from the victim.
Once in the bathroom, the person he'd agreed to meet with and an unknown accomplice "displayed handguns, assaulted the victim and attempted to rob him." The boy was shot during the exchange and the suspects -- both described as 16 to 17 years old -- fled the park.
The March 11 shooting also involved a possible "illegal transaction," Chula Vista police, according to "information developed so far."
The motive for the shooting, which was reported at 7:21 p.m., "appears to be related to that transaction," according to police, who said the victim was seen arguing with "individuals possibly known to him over this activity."
One of four suspects pulled out a handgun and shot the victim, police said, then fled in a dark colored four-door Honda or Acura sedan. The boy was taken to a hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.
"We share the community's concerns that two crimes of this nature should occur within one week at the same public park anywhere in Chula Vista, especially where that park does not have a history of significant criminal activity," the department's statement read.
"The Chula Vista Police Department is appalled at the nature of these crimes, unsettled by their occurrence in our safe community, and shares in the collective grief at the senseless loss of life."
Police asked anyone with information regarding the shootings to call San Diego County Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477.