[dehai-news] (MercuryNews) Deadly gang warfare playing out on Sacramento streets


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From: Biniam Tekle (biniamt@dehai.org)
Date: Sun Dec 28 2008 - 16:11:49 EST


"Kebret Tekle, 20, a student at California State University, Sacramento, was
out with friends near the campus at the Library Eat & Drinks nightclub on
Folsom Boulevard when a fight on the dance floor moved outside. The fight
resulted in gunfire while she was getting in her car to leave.

A bullet from the May 2, 2007, shooting struck Tekle in the head. She
slumped sideways in her vehicle and died later that day.

"She was a very good student, very disciplined, a very hard-working person,"
Tekle Sebhatu said about his daughter, who grew up in Union City. "She was
very kind, very friendly, very active with her sorority group. It was her
goal to complete her studies at Sac State and pursue her further education
as well." Sebhatu sat through most of the preliminary hearing for David
Allen Falls, 25, the man suspected of firing the deadly stray bullet.
Sebhatu said he was amazed at the police testimony that provided the gang
backdrop.
"I had no knowledge, no clue, as to how these gangs operate," said Sebhatu,
an immigrant from the East African nation of Eritrea and an international
business instructor for UC Berkeley Extension. "You hear it in the news or
you might read about it in the paper. I was surprised to see the depth of
their network, how they operate, that they are clueless in a way about other
people's activities and the value that other people give to life."

 Deadly gang warfare playing out on Sacramento streets

By Andy Furillo

The Sacramento Bee
Posted: 12/28/2008 12:51:27 PM PST

    In a city where splintering gang structures have made old rivalries less
relevant, one persistent and deadly rift has produced three high-profile
Sacramento homicide cases in the past three years.

The deaths included last year's slaying of an innocent Sacramento State
student killed by a stray bullet on a night out with her girlfriends, at
what they thought was a safe Folsom Boulevard nightclub almost next door to
campus.

This year, police say the same gang dynamic resulted in a shooting at a
Meadowview house party that killed a Sacramento High School football player
with past gang affiliations.

The third case linked to the same factional rivalry was the 2006
broad-daylight murder on a spring Sunday afternoon of a teenager outside
Downtown Plaza.

According to police testimony and other court records, the dispute has
pitted elements of a local street gang called the G-Mobb that has ties to an
Oakland organization against an Oak Park gang known as the Fourth Avenue
Bloods.

In testimony at a recent preliminary hearing into one of the killings,
Sacramento police Detective Scott Maclafferty said the violence tracks back
to the establishment of the G-Mobb in the Franklin Villa housing complex
about 10 years ago. The southside neighborhood had been the site of more
than 30 homicides over two decades before the city redeveloped a portion in
2004, increased security and renamed it Phoenix Park.

Maclafferty testified that "we had kind of an influx of Bay Area-influenced
gangs" that coveted a foothold in what was then an open-air drug market in
Franklin Villa. New arrivals with connections in Oakland called themselves
the G-Mobb, after G Parkway, the street that intersected Franklin Villa, the
detective said.

"And then the area got revitalized, so they got dispersed throughout the
Sacramento area," Maclafferty testified.

Until then, Maclafferty said, the G-Mobb and gang members from
Blood-affiliated subsets had been "co-existing." After the G-Mobb members
relocated out of Franklin Villa, "what we saw was a group of the younger
Sacramento kids wanted to become part of this G-Mobb," he said. "So they
began to integrate and form subsets off the G-Mobb with some of the younger
G-Mobb members and families." A number of local subsets that identified with
the G-Mobb, with names such as the Stickup Stars and the Guttah Boys, then
fought with Blood affiliates such as the Fourth Avenue group in Oak Park,
Maclafferty testified.

Sacramento State criminal justice professor and gang expert Jim Hernandez
said the G-Mobb spinoffs and the splintering of the area's Blood network
provide more evidence of a breakdown in the traditional red versus blue,
color-coded gang structure.

"This idea of unified gang stuff, with the younger generation, is falling
apart," Hernandez said. "You've got smaller groups, local groups, that are
fighting everybody." It's a violence that endangers innocent bystanders and
took the life of a young woman on a pathway to success.

Kebret Tekle, 20, a student at California State University, Sacramento, was
out with friends near the campus at the Library Eat & Drinks nightclub on
Folsom Boulevard when a fight on the dance floor moved outside. The fight
resulted in gunfire while she was getting in her car to leave.

A bullet from the May 2, 2007, shooting struck Tekle in the head. She
slumped sideways in her vehicle and died later that day.

"She was a very good student, very disciplined, a very hard-working person,"
Tekle Sebhatu said about his daughter, who grew up in Union City. "She was
very kind, very friendly, very active with her sorority group. It was her
goal to complete her studies at Sac State and pursue her further education
as well." Sebhatu sat through most of the preliminary hearing for David
Allen Falls, 25, the man suspected of firing the deadly stray bullet.
Sebhatu said he was amazed at the police testimony that provided the gang
backdrop.

"I had no knowledge, no clue, as to how these gangs operate," said Sebhatu,
an immigrant from the East African nation of Eritrea and an international
business instructor for UC Berkeley Extension. "You hear it in the news or
you might read about it in the paper. I was surprised to see the depth of
their network, how they operate, that they are clueless in a way about other
people's activities and the value that other people give to life." Falls has
pleaded innocent in the case. His lawyer, Steven Garrett, said his client
"is not a validated gang member" and that "I don't think this is a gang
case." He said the dispute started "over a girl." Deputy District Attorney
Jeff Ritschard, who elicited Maclafferty's testimony about the G-Mobb,
suggested at Falls' preliminary hearing that an Oakland-affiliated gang
member had performed a "turf dance" on the Library dance floor that enraged
members of the Fourth Avenue Bloods, or FABS.

Some of the FABs attacked him, according to court testimony. Bouncers
hustled the combatants outside. In the parking lot, the Oakland man who had
been pummeled on the dance floor tried to run over the Sacramento gang
members, including Falls, with his car, witnesses said.

Police say Falls then fired at the car, with one of his bullets killing
Kebret Tekle.

At Falls' preliminary hearing, Maclafferty testified that over the past year
there have been "numerous shootings going back and forth" between Blood and
G-Mobb-linked groups, including one identified as the Guttah Boys.

One of those shootings, he said, resulted in a homicide "where a Fourth
Avenue Blood was allegedly shot and killed by a Guttah Boy." The detective
was referring to the Aug. 22 shooting death of Robert Haynes, 16, the
Sacramento High football player who had past ties to the Oak Park gang.
Marvel Montreal Barksdale, now 16, has been charged with murder in the case
.

Police say Barksdale belongs to the family from which founders of the G-Mobb
emerged, and who were targets of a 2004 civil injunction aimed at running
the clan out of Franklin Villa.

"It was our belief that the Barksdales (from Oakland) are the original
members of the G-Mobb, having brought the gang element from Oakland,"
Sacramento police Officer Jonathan Wycinsky said in a July 28, 2004, sworn
declaration filed as part of the civil injunction the city obtained.

The complaint in Barksdale's murder case identified him as "an active
participant in a criminal street gang, to wit, (the) Guttah Boys." Haynes'
mother said in an interview that she knew nothing about the conflict.

"All I know is I lost my son, and it was over something stupid," Renita
Haynes said. "Every day I walk around, there's a hole in my heart. A part of
me is missing, and it's senseless." Haynes said her son had been trying to
pull back from a bad past. Sacramento High officials said Haynes was earning
good grades and was performing well on the football field before he was
killed.

Marvel Barksdale's lawyer, David Klemer, declined to comment on the case.

The teenage defendant's grandmother, Ollie Barksdale, confirmed he is a
member of the same family targeted in the Franklin Villa injunction. She
also said she thinks her grandson is innocent.

The third homicide attributed to the G-Mobb-Fourth Avenue faceoff was the
June 11, 2006, downtown killing of Eric Anthony Young, 19. He was gunned
down on Sixth and L streets, outside the Macy's entrance to Downtown Plaza,
a very public slaying that shook bystanders.

A Sacramento jury in April convicted a Fourth Avenue Blood named Miguel Soto
Enriquez, who was 16 at the time of the shooting. Judge Michael P. Kenny
sentenced Enriquez to life with no parole.

Witnesses told police investigators that Enriquez's friends had confronted
Young's group, which included at least two G-Mobb members. The two sides had
prepared for a fistfight when Enriquez pulled a gun and shot Anthony and
another youth, witnesses said. The second youth suffered critical injuries
but survived.

Eric Young's mother, Sarah, prepared a statement read on her behalf at the
sentencing.

"Innocent people are getting murdered all around this city because of gang
members like Miguel Soto Enriquez," she said. "The next time, it may be your
family, loved ones or friends."

Call The Bee's Andy Furillo, (916) 321-1141.

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