A grieving neighborhood in Anaheim held a carwash memorial Friday to raise money for the funeral of a 9-year-old girl who was shot and killed Wednesday night as she played on a sidewalk in front of her home.
Ximena Meza was playing outside her home in the 2300 block of Greenacre Avenue when she was shot at 7:15 p.m. Wednesday, police said. She died at a hospital.
Family, friends and community members gathered Friday at a carwash to raise money for Ximena’s funeral. There is also a GoFundMe page dedicated to her asking for funeral donations.
"There's people here that came to just wash the cars," said Juan Zacarras, a family friend of the Mezas. "They didn’t have money and we appreciate that too."
The memorial on Friday was a symbol of what neighbors say is a neglected community.
One woman, who said her parents were sharing their two bedroom apartment with the Meza family, remains concerned for her own safety. She believes police have not kept tabs on gang-related activity.
"I'm very, very angry," she said. "They know how bad is this neighborhood."
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Two years ago the Brookhurst Park neighborhood was singled out by both police and the city as a priority.
Edgar Medina, of the Orange County Human Relations Commission, said the only way he sees to combat gangs is to empower residents.
"They're tired to live in a situation that isn't safe," Medina said.
Detectives are searching for the gunman and a white car seen leaving the area.