Shooting turns victim into activist
April 26, 2002
Lyle Dornon isn’t about to become a victim.
Not even after an unknown assailant fired one shotgun blast into their son’s bedroom window on Sunday night as he and his family watched a movie in the living room of their East Carson home.
On Monday morning Dornon, a licensed drug and alcohol counselor and deputy director of Sierra Recovery Center in Lake Tahoe, was at Carson High School talking with the parents of at least one of the boys — reputed gang members with whom his son, Sam Gonzales, had been in a long-standing dispute.
Dornon was convinced the Sunday night shooting was related to a Sept. 11 fight in his back yard between Sam and three other boys, watched by at least a dozen teen spectators.
By Tuesday night, Dornon had plastered his neighborhood with 85 flyers announcing a “community meeting” at his home to combat gang violence, he’d been to the courthouse to file a restraining order against two of the boys he suspected in the shooting, and he’d written a three-page plea to city supervisors to not ignore gang violence in the community.
All the while, Dornon was battling his emotions. From fear to anger to all-out rage.
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He worried about his son and wife when they weren’t home and found himself worrying about who could see into his lit house at night when he was alone.
Tuesday evening, Dornon, two deputies from the Carson City Sheriff’s Department and about 10 neighbors sat on the back porch of his home and laid the foundation for a Neighborhood Watch Program.
“At first, my motivations were selfish. I wanted information about who shot at my house, but after sitting with everyone for a couple of hours I was stoked to do something. I want to channel this thing into a positive direction,” he said.
“We met new people and this gave them a chance to talk about the problems with crime they’ve had in the past. One of the women there had (successfully) battled for about a year to get street lights put in.”
He hopes in his effort he can make his neighborhood a safe place for families and bring light to gang violence in Carson City.
“These kids are involved in gangs and they aren’t the only ones. (Attacks like) these are planned and organized,” he said.
From Tuesday night came a plan for a block party, monthly neighborhood meetings and enacting the Neighborhood Watch.
Whether any of these ideas will work, Dornon doesn’t know. But doing nothing lets the aggressors get the better of him.
“Carson City is at a place right now where Reno was 10 years ago. We need to get together as a community and say we won’tbe bullied by gangs. We need to keep this from getting out of control in a few years,” he said.
According to Chief Deputy Scott Burau, the Carson City Sheriff’s Department is investigating the drive-by shooting and the September attack. No arrests have been made.