Robert Gavin after surgery
WILDWOOD - Several weeks after getting media attention for the Memorial Day Weekend attack on her grandsons, Cecella Rampolla still felt she was lacking answers. She attended the Aug. 28 Wildwood commission meeting to voice her concerns.
Rampolla still gets upset when talking about the attack on her grandsons. Robert Gavin, 21, and his younger cousin Jonathan Herring, 18, were jumped by a group of men, for no apparent reason, as they walked home on the Wildwood boardwalk. Rampolla said, “I think it's too late to find the boys that hurt my grandsons now but I think it can be prevented in the future.”
Mayor Ernie Troiano offered a heartfelt apology on behalf of the city and explained some of the difficulties the city has when policing the neighborhood. Entering the summer the police department was looking to bring on an additional 50 Class II Officers to help patrol the streets. However, due to the lack of qualified candidates they were only able to hire 28.
It was also explained how the time of the attack could have played a role into why it wasn’t seen by police. Herring and Gavin were attacked around 1:00 a.m. By that time the majority of the officers have been moved to the bar areas, leaving fewer to patrol the boardwalk.
The issue of security cameras on the boardwalk was also addressed. While the city was recently able to install a top-of-the-line camera system, the cost of the new equipment has prevented them from being able to have every inch of the boardwalk covered. Troiano said they are constantly on the lookout for security grants which could help pay for more cameras.
While Rampolla said at times she felt like she was being fed excuses she really appreciated the apology that Troiano offered. “The compassion helps relieve a lot (of the pain) for people grieving like this.” After the meeting, Rampolla and Troiano met, shook hands, and exchanged contact information. Troiano told Rampolla he would be in touch if any new information became available.
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