Lynnette Nahlee cried out Wednesday night as she ran out of a Mesa police community meeting in tears.
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Her brother, Issurah Jackson, 31, had been stabbed to death Monday at Fiesta Mall, and the meeting was to discuss the tragedy and another stabbing that occurred there Sunday.
She and her family joined an emotional crowd of about 60 at Rhodes Junior High School in hopes that some of their questions about the incidents would be answered.
"Why didn't they increase security after the first incident?" Nahlee asked before her emotions became too much and she raced out of the meeting followed by a trail of reporters and cameramen.
"Why weren't we told about the first incident?" another person said.
The heated crowd hurled questions at police. The group occasionally broke out into applause.
But although officials gave answers to many inquiries, some questions - such as what could have prevented a man from committing a random killing? - appeared to have no answer.
"I really want to emphasize that additional resources wouldn't have prevented this," said Police Chief George Gascón in a phone interview after the meeting. "A lone wolf going into a mall or an establishment and all of a sudden deciding to hurt people is hard to predict."
Police arrested Bernard Allen, 25, in connection with Monday's slaying in the food court bathroom and with Sunday's stabbing that wounded Lathaniel Brown. Police have said both acts were random and believe the suspect purchased a knife in the mall minutes before killing Jackson.
Many issues residents raised at Wednesday night's meeting criticized Fiesta Mall for not notifying all mall employees of Sunday's stabbing and why additional security wasn't beefed up following the first incident.
However, Fiesta Mall property manager Mike Jorgenson said the mall is "constantly increasing security as needed." He added, "After Sunday's event, there was an increased focus in the area by us and police."
Resident Diane Stanton said she was worried about safety at the mall, but didn't feel any better after attending the community meeting.
"I don't think they made anybody feel more secure at Fiesta Mall," Stanton said. "I was looking for more information about what they are doing to protect us."
And Nahlee's family echoed similar concerns during the meeting and afterward.
Still, police Cmdr. Joe Shelley called the mall a safe place to shop and a relatively low crime area. And police calls for service show the mall has had no rapes, robberies, stabbings and shootings this year, until recently.
Shelley said that information on Sunday's crime wasn't released until Monday morning because surveillance footage wasn't good quality, the victim was in the hospital and couldn't be interviewed and police hadn't yet realized that the killing was random.
"There's a percentage in the high 90s that there's a correlation between the victim and the suspect," Shelley said. "This one there was not."
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