EAST PALO ALTO (KPIX) — Residents in an East Palo Alto neighborhood are on edge after learning a violent, convicted sex predator set to be released in the coming weeks could be living nearby.
City leaders and police are making their concerns about the proposed release nearly multiple schools clear. They remain hopeful it doesn’t happen.READ MORE: Bay Area Music Icon Carlos Santana Undergoes Heart Procedure; Cancels December Shows
As a part of his release, convicted sex offender Lamar Johnson could be placed in a home on Beech Street and Clarke Avenue in East Palo Alto.
The East Palo Alto Police Department sent out a community notice regarding the release, informing area residents of what’s going on. It read in part:
“Recently, we were made aware of a decision by the court to place Lamar Johnson in East Palo Alto following his release from prison. Lamar Johnson has been designated as a sexually violent predator based on conditions met through crimes of which he was convicted and his subsequent prison sentence.”
Johnson was convicted in 1984 and 1992 of multiple cases of rape and assault. A jury determined him to be a sexually violent predator after serving 17 years of his 36 year sentence, according to police.
The statement goes on to note how the home where Johnson would be living “is within just several hundred feet of four high schools and two elementary schools. The home is also within less than 2,000 feet of nearly 20 AirBnB rentals.”READ MORE: Assemblymember Representing Fairfield Announces Resignation at End of Year
“We did go to schools already and churches nearby where they’re potentially placing this individual, and nobody was happy to hear what we had to say,” said Officer Eric Lopez.
City officials are equally opposed to the placement.
“The proposed place is actually surrounded by a public high school, a private high school, an elementary school. It’s the worst place,” said Vice Mayor Ruben Abrica.
The police department and vice mayor encourage locals to share their concerns with the city and department.
“It’s really dangerous for our kids. I don’t think it’s safe,” said Ovidio Rueda, who lives nearby.
“He’s done his time, but I think the state of California and the court system needs to find some alternative ways to place people like him. Places where they’re farther away from populations, definitely farther away from children and young people,” Abrica said.MORE NEWS: New COVID Variant 'Omicron' Identified In San Francisco; Here's What You Need To Know
There is a hearing that will allow for public comment on the placement scheduled for Dec. 1 at 9 a.m. at the San Mateo County Superior Courthouse.