Local News

Cumberland Authorities Teach 'Gangs 101' to Residents

Posted August 31, 1998

— Police, community leaders and parents got together Tuesday night in Fayetteville for what could be called "Gangs 101."

The meeting to discuss the city's gang problem was organized following the gang-related double murders of two women last month.

Those on hand say the most interesting aspect of the meeting was the turnout. Several hundred people were on hand, with many determined to end the gang problem before someone else gets killed.

The violent murders ofTracy Rose Lambert and Susan Raye Moorein what authorities call part of a gang initiation has polarized the community.

Concerned citizens met with authorities Tuesday night to learn what gangs are doing in their neighborhoods, how to spot members and how to prevent further violence. Many on hand brought their children.

"I think they also need to be just as interested and learn as much about this gang thing as possible," parent Albert Johnson said. "It'll help them keep themselves safe so they'll know what to look out for."

"Parents have to get educated," parent Marena Groll said. "We can't afford to stick our hands in the sand and say my child isn't at risk. My child lives in a good neighborhood. My child will not be a gang member, unless you come and know what gang relations are all about."

While most came away with the ability to recognize gang graffiti and symbols, some say an effort like this just a month ago could have stopped last month's double murders.

"If somebody was listening to those young men and women last week and could detect and know this," said Rev. John T. Johnson, who is on the Fayetteville Human Relations Committee. "I think some lives would have been saved."

Nine people have been arrested in the alleged gang initiation murders. One of the suspects is only ten-years-old.

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