Friday, 18 September 2009

Jackson has members of four major gangs that are known worldwide - the Bloods, Crips, Gangster Disciples and Vice Lords

Joe Richard Poston, 24, and Robert Benjamin Seats, 28, died of gunshot wounds after a shoot-out in the parking lot of J-Mumbly's, at 903 Hollywood Drive in the Hollywood Shopping Center. Police believe the men shot each other during an argument that began inside the club.
Police have confirmed that two Jackson men killed in a Sunday morning shooting in a nightclub parking lot were affiliated with rival gangs, the Vice Lords and Gangster Disciples.But police have said they are still investigating whether the shooting was gang-related and whether it was connected to another shooting near another nightclub the same night.
Seven others - three women and four men - were injured in the incident. Another man was wounded earlier Sunday night in the area of the Sesame Street Lounge, at 411 Railroad St.In another possible gang-related incident Wednesday, about 150 students at North Side High School gathered in a hallway.According to a Madison County Sheriff's Office report, students told Principal Jan Watson that a Vice Lords leader and a Gangster Disciples leader were making peace between the rival gangs when a crowd gathered.Willis said police have seen an uptick in the last year in assaults and robberies of individual gang members involved in selling drugs.Many of those crimes are not reported, but police hear about the crimes through intelligence from reliable informants, Willis said. Police also corroborate the information when they interview people who are in custody on other criminal charges.
Jackson has members of four major gangs that are known worldwide - the Bloods, Crips, Gangster Disciples and Vice Lords, Willis said. Police are also aware of some local gangs, which are frequently established by teenagers in middle school and older. Those gangs may eventually die out, and others are started.

During the 1990s, Jackson saw a major spike in gang violence, with 19 homicides in 1993. But in recent years, police have said gangs are keeping a lower profile.

Willis declined to estimate how many people are part of gangs in Jackson, saying he could not give an accurate number.

"We do not come into contact with every gang member," he said. "All gang members do not get arrested. All gang members do not admit their affiliation, nor do they reveal any indication that they are in a gang."

'A lot of work to do'
Mayor Jerry Gist called the recent shootings "distressing" and "disappointing."

"It indicated we still have a lot of work to do," Gist said. "We knew we had a gang presence, but gang activity had been more passive in the last years, so this is very disappointing."

Gist said he still believes the changes suggested by the crime task force in recent years have the city headed in the right direction. He cited new officers added to the police department and progress made by the Gang Unit.

There has been a lot of effort to educate younger people about the dangers of gangs, Gist said.

"The problem is those already in gangs; it is almost impossible to escape once you are in," Gist said. "People also need to understand that gang activity is part of every community in this nation."

When asked about reducing the number of the guns on the street, Gist said he did not think much could be done.

"There are not a lot of ways to crack down; you can always get weapons," he said.

No guns were recovered at the crime scene Sunday morning, and police are still investigating how many guns were fired.


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