Lompoc's surge in violence has community reeling, seeking solutions

Community members march on East Ocean Avenue in downtown Lompoc on Sept. 20, 2019, following the murder of 22-year-old Marlon Brumfield Jr., who was gunned down in his hometown while on leave from his Army post in Germany.

A bike ride to remember Lompoc victims killed due to violence in 2019 that was delayed for more than a year due to COVID-19 will take place Saturday, according to its organizer.

The event was created following the seven homicides Lompoc experienced in 2019, including the shooting death of 22-year-old Army soldier Marlon Brumfield, according to organizer Yasmin Dawson.

Dawson, along with her own nonprofit Collective Cultures Creating Change, partnered with the Cords Foundation to keep the memories of those lost to violence and hopes to create lasting change.

“The violence hasn’t ceased, but we have to believe that our community has been strengthened,” Dawson said. “I think after COVID, of course, there has been additional trauma and, because we’ve been locked down, there’s been a lot of anger and anxiety and [insecurity].”

The event starts with a two-hour bike ride from 9 to 11 a.m. at Beattie Park near the intersection of East Olive Avenue and South Fifth Street, followed by giveaways and food trucks at Ryon Memorial Park, 800 W. Ocean Ave. from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

A $5 entry fee for the bike ride also includes raffle tickets for the giveaway, which includes an adult and child’s bike, gift baskets and gift cards, according to Dawson.

Dawson organized a community march against violence that drew hundreds on Sept. 20, 2019, following the death of Brumfield.

Brumfield was an active-duty Army soldier visiting home on leave when he was killed in a gang-related shooting while walking with his friend near the intersection of A Street and Ocean Avenue on Sept. 8. 2019.

“This is all derived from the death of Marlon,” said Dawson, who is originally from Philadelphia. “My brother died of violence. It makes me feel like I’m doing something for my family as well.”

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