Ex-Los Angeles gang members work to stop violence
John Blackstone (CBS News) | July 9, 2012
LOS ANGELES – While gang violence in Chicago is prevalent, the problem is also bad elsewhere. One city with a high rate of gang-related deaths is Los Angeles.
Former gang member Rey Rodriguez spends summer nights at the park in his East Los Angeles neighborhood often telling kids how lucky he is to be alive.
“I took four bullets one in the shoulder, two in the stomach, and one in my spine which is still there,” he says.
He was 20 and on a path to an early grave.
“(I’ve) been in jail, been in prison, already had gotten shot four times,” he explained to CBS News.
“Yeah it was a pretty crazy teenage life,” he added.
Now, at 36, Rodriguez has a paid job as a community intervention worker to stop gang violence. The park is part of that. It’s one of 32 places in gang-ridden Los Angeles neighborhoods where the lights stay on until midnight for pickup games and organized leagues. Even gang members are welcome here, but Rodriguez convinced them not to bring trouble.
Photo credit: CBS
Tags: collateral damage, community intervention worker, east los angeles, Rey Rodriguez, stop gang violence