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One killed, three injured in park shooting believed to be 'targeted attack'

Nearby residents say they heard 3-5 guns fired

Police investigate a shooting in which four people were shot at Fordham Street in East Palo Alto on May 17, 2022. Photo by Sue Dremann.

One person died and three others were injured in a shooting that investigators believe was a "targeted attack" in East Palo Alto on Tuesday evening, police said.

The shooting, which was reported around 6 p.m., occurred at Jack Farrell Park in the 2500 block of Fordham Street, police said in a press release. Officers were notified through ShotSpotter, an acoustic detection system that provides alerts when gunshots are fired in an area.

One person who was located at the park was transferred to an ambulance where he died of his injuries en route to a hospital, according to police. The deceased man is Ralph Fields Jr., 34, an East Palo Alto resident, according to the San Mateo County Coroner's office.

Two more people took themselves to the Menlo Park Fire Protection District station nearby on University Avenue where fire personnel aided them before they were taken to a hospital. A fourth person was found at a home on Fordham Street and didn't seek treatment.

One of the victims was shot in the right chest, a second was shot in the left chest and a third had lower extremity wounds, according to dispatchers. Police closed Fordham Street at Michigan Avenue to traffic and cordoned off the park on Tuesday night.

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Based on the initial investigation, police believe the shooting was a "targeted attack" and not random.

Nearby residents said they heard at least three to five different guns firing multiple rounds.

Resident Francisco Carlos, said he was at home in bed when he heard what first sounded like firecrackers. "Then there was a different sound, and I thought they were gunshots," he said.

He ran outside and saw a man lying on the grass near the park with a chest wound.

"These things happen so fast," he said.

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Carlos said he didn't see the shooter or shooters. Everyone was running away on foot or by car to get out of the way, he added.

Carlos said the park is a popular place, where many people gather daily.

Gina Sudaria, superintendent of the Ravenswood City School District, said in a statement to the school community on Tuesday night that the district learned of the shooting through videos shared by families.

"Families and children practicing softball and playing on the playground structures found themselves caught in the crossfires, now traumatized," she said. "In response, Ravenswood central office staff, mental health supports, school-based counselors and psychologists will be deployed to each site first thing in the morning."

The district planned to prioritize its resources after assessing Wednesday morning where they find the greatest need, she added.

"Our Board of Trustee President, Mele K. Latu, would like for me to emphasize that our district remains committed to providing the support and services needed during this difficult time," she said.

Police are investigating the shooting with assistance from the Menlo Park Police Department, San Mateo County District Attorney's Office and San Mateo County Sheriff's Office.

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call acting Cmdr. Angel Sanchez at 650-853-3154. Anonymous tips can be sent by email to [email protected] or by text or voicemail to 650-409-6792.

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Sue Dremann is a veteran journalist who joined the Palo Alto Weekly in 2001. She is a breaking news and general assignment reporter who also covers the regional environmental, health and crime beats. Read more >>

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One killed, three injured in park shooting believed to be 'targeted attack'

Nearby residents say they heard 3-5 guns fired

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Wed, May 18, 2022, 9:44 am
Updated: Wed, May 18, 2022, 11:00 am

One person died and three others were injured in a shooting that investigators believe was a "targeted attack" in East Palo Alto on Tuesday evening, police said.

The shooting, which was reported around 6 p.m., occurred at Jack Farrell Park in the 2500 block of Fordham Street, police said in a press release. Officers were notified through ShotSpotter, an acoustic detection system that provides alerts when gunshots are fired in an area.

One person who was located at the park was transferred to an ambulance where he died of his injuries en route to a hospital, according to police. The deceased man is Ralph Fields Jr., 34, an East Palo Alto resident, according to the San Mateo County Coroner's office.

Two more people took themselves to the Menlo Park Fire Protection District station nearby on University Avenue where fire personnel aided them before they were taken to a hospital. A fourth person was found at a home on Fordham Street and didn't seek treatment.

One of the victims was shot in the right chest, a second was shot in the left chest and a third had lower extremity wounds, according to dispatchers. Police closed Fordham Street at Michigan Avenue to traffic and cordoned off the park on Tuesday night.

Based on the initial investigation, police believe the shooting was a "targeted attack" and not random.

Nearby residents said they heard at least three to five different guns firing multiple rounds.

Resident Francisco Carlos, said he was at home in bed when he heard what first sounded like firecrackers. "Then there was a different sound, and I thought they were gunshots," he said.

He ran outside and saw a man lying on the grass near the park with a chest wound.

"These things happen so fast," he said.

Carlos said he didn't see the shooter or shooters. Everyone was running away on foot or by car to get out of the way, he added.

Carlos said the park is a popular place, where many people gather daily.

Gina Sudaria, superintendent of the Ravenswood City School District, said in a statement to the school community on Tuesday night that the district learned of the shooting through videos shared by families.

"Families and children practicing softball and playing on the playground structures found themselves caught in the crossfires, now traumatized," she said. "In response, Ravenswood central office staff, mental health supports, school-based counselors and psychologists will be deployed to each site first thing in the morning."

The district planned to prioritize its resources after assessing Wednesday morning where they find the greatest need, she added.

"Our Board of Trustee President, Mele K. Latu, would like for me to emphasize that our district remains committed to providing the support and services needed during this difficult time," she said.

Police are investigating the shooting with assistance from the Menlo Park Police Department, San Mateo County District Attorney's Office and San Mateo County Sheriff's Office.

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call acting Cmdr. Angel Sanchez at 650-853-3154. Anonymous tips can be sent by email to [email protected] or by text or voicemail to 650-409-6792.

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