Residents: thugs taking over where 7-year old shot and killed

Residents: thugs taking over where 7-year old shot and killed

CREATED Apr 12, 2011

Reporter: Steve Nuñez

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) – Residents in the Corbett Neighborhood, where a gunman shot and killed 7-year old Johnathan Federico, say thugs are taking over the area, especially at night. But Tucson Police point to city budget cuts for restricting officers from stepping up their patrols above and beyond what they normally do.

Meanwhile, residents like Michelle Cobos continue to stop by Johnathan's memorial site to pay tribute to the boy and his family.

"I live right down the street. It just breaks my heart," said Cobos.

Cobos, a mother of two, did not know the 7-year old. But it touched her heart just the same.   

"If that was my child I would want as much support as I could get," said Cobos. She continued to look down at a photo of Johnathan.

This sad tribute has also become a sad reminder of how the Corbett Neighborhood has changed from good to bad.

Long time resident Terry Tisdale said, "You were able to go out at night around here not any more."

But no one wants to talk about the crime happening in this area much less call police to report the trouble makers like 21-year old Alvin Valenzuela who police say fired the shots that killed Johnathan.

Roger MacVittie, President of the Corbett Neighborhood Association, admits residents are in fear for their safety.

He, too, would not talk to Nine On Your Side. Instead, he hung up on us twice.        

According to police stats, Johnathan's murder marks the first one there this year. Since January police have responded to 17 total assaults including four with a deadly weapon.

Tucson Police tell KGUN9 News even if they knew about the crime budget cuts would prohibit them from stepping up patrol unless residents call in to report the crime when it's happening.  

Sgt. Matt Ronstadt, TPD's Spokesperson, said fearful residents have other ways, than just 88-CRIME, of anonymously reporting crime. He said residents can also attend neighborhood association meetings to voice their concerns without being identified by the thugs.

"They can certainly become involved in their neighborhood watch or association and provide information through the neighborhood association that can then be reported to us," said Sgt. Ronstadt.

Paula Martinez who lives next door to Johnathan says she's seen enough and is no longer afraid.

"No I'm not. No I'm not," said Martinez.

Nuñez then asked Martinez what's stopping her from getting involved with the neighborhood association.

Martinez said, "I've never even heard of a neighborhood association."

The Corbett Neighborhood Association also blames city budget cuts for not having money to spread the word to promote its monthly meetings.

Tucson Police confirm they frequently attend Corbett's neighborhood association meetings.

The neighborhood group said its tried to form a Crime Watch but can't get enough residents to participate.