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Friday, 8 May 2009

Seattle's gang feuds two 16-year-old boys were shot in the back, including one who had been involved in a gang intervention and prevention program.

Two 16-year-old boys were shot in the back, including one who had been involved in a gang intervention and prevention program. The shooter hasn't been caught.Seattle's gang feuds have been heated for more than a year. Seattle police are preparing new measures to quell the violence, and have formed communication channels to try to prevent retaliations shootings.Last month, the department started a day-shift gang squad. Interim Police Chief John Diaz told Seattlepi.com that some of the resource officers added this year to Seattle schools will transition to working in the precincts this summer.Though he didn't give specifics, Diaz also said the department also has been setting money aside for overtime preparing for summer focus areas in each precinct -- something done in response to the gang issue."We definitely have to have more on those Friday and Saturday nights, but … throughout the week we want to make consistent that we have ongoing emphasis in different areas," he said. "Once school's out, you're going to have to make sure that you're staying on top of it.
Though police didn't discuss what prompted Tuesday's shooting, signs show possible links to previous incidents.On Friday, one man was wounded in what police called a gang-related shooting near Alki Beach. Last month, charges were filed in two alleged gang-retaliation shootings that left one dead and two wounded."This winter, they kept on going in between snowstorms and there are still a lot of kids out there with guns, unfortunately," said Gabe Morales, a local gang expert who works with police and at-risk youths. "This is not anything new, it's ongoing."The new measures by Seattle police are intended to prevent a repeat of last year, in which officers linked nine of 28 Seattle homicides to gang violence. Officers said all four juvenile homicides in the city were gang-related.Nearly four hours after Tuesday's double shooting on Rainier Avenue South, a 19-year-old man was caught with a handgun about 10 blocks from the shooting scene as he was walking with a witness to the incident.He allegedly told police his "brother had been shot earlier" and that he was "going to the hospital," according to a police report. Police said the young man had purchased the gun earlier that day for $120.He was arrested and booked into King County Jail after also being caught with what police suspected was crack cocaine and Ecstasy. The teen, who has multiple guilty pleas as a juvenile, told police he was convicted of a juvenile felony. He was last booked into King County Jail in October for illegal gun possession, a violation of his juvenile parole.
The man "claims South End" and associated with known Crips gang members, according to the report. He remained in King County Jail on Thursday and is expected to be charged Friday.However, he has a different last name from the two teens shot in the back early Tuesday evening, and police spokeswoman Renee Witt could not confirm if his brother was one of the victims.Evidence of a South Seattle feud with Central District gangs is widespread, even showing up last month as graffiti in the Douglass-Truth Branch of the Seattle Public Library.
On April 14, police said five members of the Deuce Eights -- a main Central District gang -- were involved in a drive-by shooting on Rainier Avenue South that was said to be retaliation for a shooting early that day in the Central District.A 21-year-old and a 24-year-old man were in front of an apartment in the 7400 block of Rainier Avenue South when one of the alleged Deuce Eights -- who has a felony conviction for unlawful firearm possession -- opened fire on the men, including one who he thought shot at him earlier that day. The 21-year-old suffered a non-fatal wound to his biceps.The alleged shooter, 16-year-old Cleden Theend Jimerson, and the alleged driver, Alias Lasean Grihm, have been charged in Superior Court with first-degree assault. A 14-year-old who police say was in the car was charged as a juvenile with illegal gun possession.Eight days later on the same block, police responded to gunfire outside the apartment of the 24-year-old who the shooters missed.
Police identified him as a member of the 74 Hoover Criminals, a South Seattle division of the Crips gang that is battling the Deuce Eights.Police speculated the shooter, who was not caught, was aiming at the man's residence. The alleged target said little to police, other than that he wasn't a victim that night.On Friday, the 19-year-old shot Friday night near Alki Beach was identified by Gang Unit detectives as belonging to the Holly Park Crips, a group allied with South Seattle gangs, including the 74 Hoover Criminals. Police did not comment Wednesday on whether that shooting was connected to the most recent Rainier Avenue incidents.Also on Tuesday, the Seattle Police Gang Unit responded to a report of shots fired in the Central District. In that case, which appears to be unrelated to the Rainier Avenue incidents, a man was fired upon after an alleged crack deal went bad.
Gang detectives learned the shooter's street name and determined he is associated with a main Central District Gang, the Valley Hood Pirus, according to police.
A problem with mapping gang connections is the changeing allegiances and feuds. Members from gangs who are allies one month could have a problem the following month, Morales said."What we've noticed is that the groups are very dynamic," Tukwila police spokesman Mike Murphy said. "Loyalties change and affiliations changed. It's very hard to predict."Officers say communication between agencies is crucial to a reducing violent gang crime, and has been shown to prevent attacks.
After what police said was a gang-related shooting at the Garfield Community Center in December, police agencies in King County were told to be on the lookout for a suspect with ties to a notorious South Seattle gang.Seattle officers also were advised to stay on the alert for suspicious gang activity due to the increased possibility of retaliation from Central District gang members.The Garfield incident has not been linked to the Hoovers. But Seattle police said communication that night likely prevented a potentially violent situation.Three hours after the December shooting, a Seattle officer recognized six known members of the 74 Hoover Criminals near Rainier Avenue South and South Cloverdale Street -- a stronghold for South End gangs.Police said one of the suspected members, a felon, was found with a loaded .32-caliber revolver in his waistband. The pistol was wrapped in an orange bandanna -- a color used by the street gang."Criminals don't recognize political boundaries," King County Sheriff's spokesman Sgt. John Urquhart said. "We're basically involved in sharing information and occasionally have joint patrols that are very critical."On April 7, less than two hours after a 21-year-old man was shot while working on a car near his South Seattle home April 7, three men approached a Cadillac at South 188th Street and International Boulevard in SeaTac and sprayed the car with at least 20 bullets, according to police.One of the four men arrested allegedly told police the shooting was retaliation for the previous attack. One man died, another was wounded."That's a good example of sharing information," Urquhart said, adding deputies were alerted that afternoon by Seattle police. "Just putting our heads together helped us in both investigations."The four Seattle men suspected in the Sea-Tac shooting were charged with first-degree murder. No suspects have been publically identified in the earlier attack.The communication helps track gang members who can adjust territories within days, police say. Twice a month, Tukwila police have meetings with the Seattle police gang unit -- something also done with other agencies."Years ago we didn't have that and we didn't know what was going on in the next city," Murphy said. "Working collaboratively we've been identifying people, identifying networks."

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