Originally published on February 21
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Bullets rang, day and night.
Callers of the house in north Minneapolis knew the sound well, and they told WCCO that gang violence was the driving force.
For the first time, we’re getting an inside look from a gang member. He agreed to speak openly if we concealed his identity. We interviewed him in the dark and told him his message word for word. We’ll call him “John”.
John said: “I come from the ‘lowest level’. “The big gangs are SUB and YNT. Those are the biggest gangs north of Minneapolis. ”
And John says these rivals belong to territorial groups known as “highlands” and “lowlands”. We are told West Broadway Avenue is the landmark that separates the highs from the lows. Anything south of West Broadway is lowland territory, while north is upland.
“There are no structures on the street that are gone,” he said. “Death keeps it going.”
John refers to gangs as unstructured as cliques. Their disorganization makes them dangerous.
“Those are the leaders in the gang, in the faction, there is no leader,” he said. “Everybody wants to be a leader.”
I met members of these factions in one accompanied by Minneapolis Gang Specialist Police Sgt. Andrew Schroeder last fall. He said these factions are often led by people with a lot of money and guns.
“I would describe it more as not a war, not a battle,” said Schroeder. “It was a war.”
War is motivated by retaliation – one for the other. Messages went back and forth on social media, then on the street.
“Today or next week is not over yet. There are no wins,” Schroeder said. “There is no end point. It was you who took ours, so we took yours. There is no ending. ”
He has also witnessed the recruitment of children.
“We have seen shootings this year where older gang members were on the scene, chatting with younger juvenile gang members, almost exclusively,” he said. led them to then carry out the shootings,” he said.
These new young people are recruited for a specific reason.
“Young people, they’re not going to spend time in prison,” John said.
Children under the age of 13 are taught how to get a car and withdraw money. That’s the driving force behind Twin Cities’ carjacking crisis.
“You see a [Dodge Challenger SRT] Hellcat is running at the gas station, you still have in mind that there’s a guy out there that will give you $60,000 right now for that Hellcat. That $60,000 will do all the good thinking you have because you’re broken,” John said.
You read it right. Carjacked, and later sold for $60,000. That quick money is why Schroeder says it’s so hard to get kids out of the gangs. Fifteen dollar an hour job can’t compete when you can do thousands of car thefts.
“Young people are making $20,000 a day, and sometimes doing it several times a week. How do you prevent that? ‘ said Schroeder. “And when there are no real consequences to that, how do you say no?” he say.
Schroeder argued that the system should hold everyone accountable. From parents becoming active parents, to harsher punishments.
“We’re looking at a guy with seven felonies right now. This is not a case, this is seven arrests for a felony,” Schroeder said. “This isn’t about stealing a candy bar, is it? Seven felony cases and he committed even more felonies.”
For John, serving a sentence in prison and raising a new family makes him think there’s more to life than gangs.
“I just wanted to send a message to the gang members: Leave it alone, brother,” he said. “Things will not go well. It’s not going to go well, you know what I’m saying? You will die or go to jail. “
We learned that thieves would sell cars for spare parts or use them for other crimes and then crash them as they moved to get a new car.
They also told me about guns and a device called a switch. That’s where people legally buy a cheap part online that turns handguns into illegal automatic weapons.