Former Santa Maria gang member talks about his experience, how he turned his life around

By Charlie Misra | KSBY.COM
Posted: Nov 30, 2015 5:40 PM PST
Updated: Nov 30, 2015 6:19 PM PST

santa maria ex gang memberSanta Maria police are still investigating four gang-related shootings from a week and a half ago, that left a teenager dead and another four victims injured. The police department has said a possible gang war could be the reason for the shootings.

KSBY spoke with a man who was a member of a local gang. Joe Ward grew up in a broken home. At 12 years old, he joined a Santa Maria gang.

“Basically, I grew up on the streets and ran around drug addicted,” Ward said. “It was an outlet from having a broken family. There was no love in the home. There was no acceptance.”

At that young age, he got hooked on methamphetamine and started committing crimes so he could get his next fix.

“I wanted to be famous,” Ward said. “I wanted to be known, so I would do whatever it took to do those type of things, you know. Thinking that I was cool, you know. But in the end, I was the only one that paid the price.”

Ward was in and out of jail into his early 30s. He was strung out. He was losing his marriage and the love of his kids.

“At the end of that road there’s nothing there,” Ward said. “There’s only death, prison, and that’s it.”

In March of last year, Ward was on probation for selling drugs. He says he was addicted to heroin at the time, and he would do at least one gram each day. His probation officer gave him an ultimatum: find a rehab center or go to prison.

“I ended up in a Victory Outreach Christian Men’s Home,” Ward said. “They prayed for me that day. I was broken. I felt something that I never felt in my life. I thought the life that I was living was the life to live, when it wasn’t. It was just a total lie. And I had an amazing awakening that day.”

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1 Comment for “Former Santa Maria gang member talks about his experience, how he turned his life around”

  1. Bobo Echo Park

    Praise God Remember you keep going forward God did not make any junk You are a child of the most High Praise God

    JESUS Numero uno

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