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Community Prays For Peace In Anaheim Following Violent Protests

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SANTA ANA (CBS) — Community members in Anaheim prayed for peace Wednesday night following Tuesday’s protests between police and demonstrators, which were sparked by two fatal officer involved shootings that occurred over the weekend.

“We’re praying for peace in the community, peace in the heart of the people that were hurt this weekend,” Angel Rangel told CBS2/KCAL9 reporter Stacey Butler.

Earlier on Wednesday, Genevieve Huizar, whose 25-year-old son, Manuel Diaz, was fatally shot by Anaheim police on Saturday, pleaded for an end to the protests.

“We want peaceful justice. We want to honor Manuel by doing things within the law. We want the officers in question to be arrested for the execution of my son, Manuel,” Huizar said.

Violence in Anaheim seemed to subside Wednesday night, but police remained on a city-wide tactical alert and kept a close eye throughout the night.

On Tuesday night, protesters lit fires, smashed windows, kicked police cars and threw rocks and bottles at officers in riot gear. About 250 law enforcement officers were called in to quell more than 600 protesters who had gathered along Anaheim Blvd. Law enforcement officers shot pepper balls and bean bags at the unruly crowds. Approximately 24 demonstrators were arrested by the end of the protests.

Meanwhile, City Council members unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday night calling for a federal investigation into the two deadly shootings.

On Saturday, Diaz, who police have identified as a documented gang member from Santa Ana, was approached by officers around 4 p.m. in the 600 block of North Anna Drive. Police said Diaz and his two companions ran off, but an officer caught up to Diaz and shot him when he reportedly threw an unidentified object. However, no weapons were found at the scene and Diaz died at a hospital several hours later.

On Sunday, Anaheim police fatally shot Joel Mathew Acevedo at the end of a stolen-car pursuit. Acevedo, 21, who is also described as a gang member, allegedly fired at officers before he was fatally shot.

Diaz’s family filed a $50 million legal claim and accompanying suit against the city Tuesday. They allege he was first shot in the back, then in the head.

Three officers are on paid administrative during the investigation.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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