'Not on our watch' say pastors, politicians and Pasadena community members in anti-gang rally

Pastors, politicians and residents of Pasadena and Altadena gathered at a peace rally Sunday afternoon. It follows a Christmas Day shooting that killed a Los Angeles Sheriff's Department employee and that authorities have suggested may be linked to criminal street gangs. Molly Peterson/KPCC

With Rose Parade preparations happening not too far away, pastors, politicans and community members representing Pasadena and Altadena gathered on the steps of All Saints Episcopal Church Sunday afternoon in a rally against gang violence.

The gathering comes days after a somber memorial for Victor McClinton, a youth sports coach killed at his home on Christmas Day. He was apparently an innocent bystander caught between a gunman and another person who was the target. Pasadena Church’s Kerwyn Manning emphasized hope and encouraged action.

“Peace does’t come easy. Peace has to be sought after. It has to be pursued. We gotta work for it,” he said.

On this cold, gray afternoon, Manning led a crowd of 50 or more in the rally’s signature phrase: “I wonder if you can say that with me Pasadena: 'Not on our watch.'”

Chief of Police Philip Sanchez acknowledged that Pasadena’s a rich community with more than 1,000 nonprofit organizations. 

“We don’t suffer from a lack of resources," Sanchez said. "We lack for significant handoffs to ensure that our young people have mentors and coaches, religious leaders and most important parental involvement on a consistent basis.”

Sanchez said McClinton – a Los Angeles Sheriff's Department employee – turned kids away from gang life one at a time. He and other speakers asked those assembled to fill the void McClinton left.