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Cold Case: How Seaside is taking steps to move on from a dark past and bring closure to families

SEASIDE, Calif. (KION-TV)- Seaside Police said the murder of Rafael Wynn was one of four that took place within the city in 2014 that occurred over race.

The connection all four victims shared? They were all targeted because of their race.

Rafael Wynn's family says this is now the third set of detectives reexamining his case, and every time they re-live a nightmare and pain of his loss.

Veronica Macias explains how solving some of these cold cases helps the community heal from such a violent year in Seaside's history.

Nearly a decade ago, in 2014, the city saw a string of homicides that were alarming to the community. Within the span of several months, the lives of four people were taken. Gang violence played a part.

Rafael Wynn may have been misidentified and targeted because of his race, said police.

"Unfortunately there were certain individuals that were being targeted at the time and Mr. Wynn was mistakenly taken for a different individual," Seaside Police Commander Justin Pascone said.

Wynn had been on his way to get food late at night when his SUV was later found riddled with bullets along General Jim Moore Boulevard.

The young athlete loved to rollerblade and played football for the Salinas Spartans - a semi-pro football team. To his family his death was senseless.

"Of course, you still have questions, like why? What was the purpose? What did you gain or get out of it?" Jeanesta Tharpe, Rafael's sister, said.

Two of these cases have been solved and with each conviction, the city moves to heal from the past and focus on building a better community.

"DNA has advanced much further than we could have imagined. Also, we have camera systems and surveillance systems. It doesn't pay for criminals to think they're going to get away with committing a crime. Especially in the City of Seaside," Commander Pascone said.

The loved ones of these victims want the community to learn from that dark chapter and know there's been an effort to eliminate gang violence.

"I want it to be like if they ask me where I live and I say seaside, then they would feel comfortable coming into my city without having to fear something is going to happen to them," Wynn's sister said.

She added her brother loved rollerblading at the Monterey City Skate Park, and she would like to try to rename it after him.

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Veronica Macias

Veronica Macias is an evening anchor at KION News Channel 5/46.


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