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Chicago street gang members say more police won’t stop the murders

February 20, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Chicago street gang members say more police won’t stop the murders

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Rashad Britt was raised in the Henry Horner projects on the West Sideof Chicago, notoriously known for its gangs and violence. He started hanging out with the Vice Lords gang for security.

“Just for protection…my friends…we gotta get to school. So, we got each other’s back on the way to school,” he said. “Sometimes, that meant carrying a gun and [be] willing to use it.”

His first firearm was a present that was given to him as a pre-teen. “I looked at it as love. I looked at it like this person loved me, that they wanted to see me protected. They gave me something that was going to protect my life,” he added.

Fox News conducted an interview with gang members on the city’s West Side. These men often say that the gangs provided them with the structure that their parents did not. “Half of these guys don’t have no mom, either they were crack heads, dope fiends, boosters or something,” a man, who would only identify himself as a member of the Black Disciples, stated.

Incidents of gun violence in Chicago have increased so far in 2017

“We are more like a family than a gang,” says Kevin Gentry – who is affiliated with the Vice Lords. In the group, someone was kind to them. Their role models sold drugs, had cash, clothes, cars, and women.

“The gangs have become family for a lot of men here in Chicago, and across the U.S. They gravitate toward guys with charisma… that might protect them. But they are not protected Too many people are being killed, it’s a false sense of security,” Tio Hardiman said, who is from Violence Interrupters, a group that tries to predict and prevent gang-associated shootings.

As of February 15th, Chicago accumulated 326 shootings and 72 murders, which puts the city in the same position as 2016, which saw the highest homicide rate in decades.

On Saturday, 12-year-old Kanari Gentry-Bowers was playing with her friends in the unsafe West Englewood neighborhood when a stray bullet hit her.

Kanari Gentry-Bowers (left) Lavontay White (center) and Takiya Holmes (right)

Roughly 4 miles away, 11-year-old Takiya Holmes was hit by a stray bullet while in the backseat of a car. The young victims, were shot 30 minutes apart and both died in the hospital a few days later .

On Valentine’s Day, a pregnant woman began streaming on Facebook Live. Her boyfriend, Lazarek Collins, was in the passenger seat and his 2-year-old nephew Lavontay White was in the back.

Collins was a known gang member. It is alleged the bullets were meant for him. However, when Collins was murdered, so was little Lavontay. The pregnant woman was hit in the abdomen but survived.

Eddie Johnson, the Police Superintendent, again called for more stringent gun laws. “Enough is enough,” he stated.

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner proposed dispatching state troopers to Chicago. Without provided specific, President Donald Trump suggested sending in federal officials.

Tracy Cannon – who was once a member of the Vice Lords – said these measures would not make a difference. “I don’t care how many police they bring. It’s not going to stop.”

Gang members also noted that additional law enforcement made a bad condition worse. “They locked up gang chiefs, and everything went haywire,” Charles Winters said. Large groups like the Gangster Disciples and Vice Lords divided over unresolved altercations. With absent leadership, groups within the same gang will often battle. “Ain’t like it used to be,” Cannon said. “Back then we had structure. Older guys would make us go to school. Even though we were gang banging, we would still go to school.”

Now, gangsters are just trying to gain respect by demonstrating themselves to be ruthless. “Kids only care about nice clothes, fast money and how many kills they can get.. When they get a certain amount of kills or hurt a certain amount, they are feared. They got the fear factor going on. The kids nowadays in Chicago, want that.”

The man from the Black Disciples says the gang is all he’s ever relied on and he’ll never leave that type of lifestyle. “I live by this gun and I live by these drugs. It’s putting food on my table and food in my kids’ mouths and a roof over they heads, then I’m not going to put it down,” he added.

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