Pasadena Police Chief John Perez told the Pasadena Weekly on Monday that the department was not on alert after the mass shootings in Texas and Ohio, but said officers are focused on ensuring that the community is operationally prepared for such a disaster.
On Saturday, two separate shooting incidents left 31 people dead in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio.
Twenty-two people were killed in the El Paso shooting. Police said they found an anti-immigrant manifesto espousing white nationalist and racist views, which they believe was written by the suspect, 21-year-old Patrick Crusius, according to CNN.
Nine people died and 27 others were injured in Dayton hours later. The shooter, 24-year-old Connor Betts, was killed by police just 30 seconds after shots were fired.
“It’s not just the police,” Perez said. “Pasadena has to be about having a community that is aware also. You have to be aware of exit and entrance points. We have to know our surroundings better.”
Perez said it’s not just about the response time of police, but also about taking preventive measures before shootings occur.
“Our community has to have the confidence to step up and say I saw something on social media. We have to say something if we see something,” Perez said.
In a recent local case, police arrested a man who threatened a city employee. After conducting an investigation, police discovered the man illegally possessed several firearms.
In May, police responded to calls of a man with a gun dressed in body armor on Glen Avenue, near Howard Street. When police arrived, Daniel Warren, 36, yelled at the officers and pointed a rifle at them.
Police opened fire and Warren retreated behind a house where he was later found dead from a gunshot fired by police. Investigators recovered a rifle with a large capacity drum style magazine and a handgun nearby.
In 2014, John Izael Smith, 44, fatally shot three people and wounded two others from his home on Summit Avenue. Police arrested Smith after a 911 caller convinced him to surrender.
“Social organization in any neighborhood where people are connected to one another prevents crime and helps us go after criminals,” said Perez. “National Night Out is huge for us. It gets people out of their homes and meeting each other and police. Our hearts go out to Dayton and El Paso. They need the positive support. This hits all of us emotionally hard.”