Blood in the streets
December 4, 2006
I doubt I’ve read a more gripping news story all year than this piece about the FBI’s four-year campaign to take out the Double ii Bloods, a horrendously violent East Orange gang that was responsible for 27 murders and countless other crimes. They turned 15th and William streets into their home base, using military-style discipline to increase their effectiveness. They also did things like this:
Like many East Orange residents, LaQuan Brooks had watched as the gangs took control of pockets of his city.
On July 25, 2002, he heard news that sent him over the edge: The corner dealers had taken an interest in his 8-year-old son and namesake, letting little LaQuan handle their cash and jewelry.
Brooks, 29, stormed to 15th Street, where the boy lived with his mother. Witnesses said he began screaming at the crimson-clad young men, warning them to leave his son alone.
One ran off to Amir Winn, a 19-year-old Blood known as “Young Gangster,” and reported that the irate father was “disrespecting” the set.
Winn had stashed a weapon in a nearby house. “Take me to get my gun,” he told the underling, who later recounted the conversation for agents. “I’m going to show you how to murder someone.”
Armed with a .380-caliber weapon, Winn arrived at 15th Street and asked aloud who was looking for him. Brooks stepped forward. As a crowd of children watched, Winn fired a single shot into his chest.
The 8-year-old rushed to his fallen father, witnesses reported. Then he turned to Winn. “Y.G., why you kill my daddy?” the boy asked.
Winn pointed the gun toward the child, paused and strolled away.
The FBI’s most powerful strategy, apparently, was using racketeering statutes to bundle together outstanding crimes over the past couple of years and make sure anyone convicted would have to spend a long time behind bars. When the gang’s back was finally broken, the following year’s crime rate dropped by some 500 incidents.
The case was handled superbly, but cops aren’t kidding themselves about the impact they had. Gangs are still flourishing all over New Jersey. Read the story and see just how bad the problem has become.