After two men were killed in the span of two weeks during fights along Second Street in Belmont Shore, Councilmember Kristina Duggan is inviting the community to attend a meeting to discuss the recent crimes and learn what’s being done to address safety concerns in the area she represents.

“We have recently experienced two categories of crimes: significant events late at night and many petty crimes that have accrued to have a significant impact on the quality of life in our neighborhoods,” Duggan said earlier this week.

The first meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on Thursday at Sheldrake Coffee Roasting on Second Street, just a few blocks west of where the deadly crimes unfolded. 

Duggan said she is also working to organize another community meeting at a time “more convenient for everyone,” she said in a newsletter this week. A spokesperson with Duggan’s office did not respond to a request for more information about when that meeting might be scheduled. 

Residents were already rattled after an off-duty city employee was shot to death on Feb. 18 in the 5300 block of Second Street, which is in the middle of a popular entertainment district filled with bars and restaurants.

The employee and father of two, 32-year-old Johnny Santos, was involved in a fight in the area when 24-year-old Christopher Salguero shot him in the upper body, according to the Long Beach Police Department. Santos died after being taken to a local hospital, police said.

Salguero was taken into custody the following day in connection to the deadly shooting and has since been charged with murder. He has not entered a plea and is due back in court Thursday for arraignment.

Duggan said that shortly after Santos’ killing, she scheduled the March 7 meeting at Sheldrake Coffee Roasting to address concerns from the community.

Then, on March 3, 20-year-old Adrian Hernandez was fatally stabbed during a fight at Dave’s Hot Chicken, just a few blocks from where Santos was shot weeks earlier.

His accused attacker, 29-year-old Huntington Beach resident Brandon Nguyen, was taken into custody the following day at LAX airport and was charged Wednesday with one count of murder in connection to the crime. Nguyen has yet to enter a plea and his arraignment was waived to March 20.

Following Hernandez’s death, Duggan, who has already called for more police presence in the area, said that she has been working with several city departments to understand the crime trends, and “what opportunities we have to make changes to prevent these crimes.”

This could include looking at an even bigger police presence and enforcement in the area, reviewing the number of ABC licenses along the block, requesting additional DUI checkpoints and working directly with the businesses.

“These actions are within our control as a City, but we need help. We can’t put officers at every corner to prevent crimes, so we need help from other parts of the justice system to serve as a deterrent,” Duggan said in a statement. “People that commit crimes need to know they will face consequences and be held accountable for their actions.”

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