Organizations try to save youth gang members before they enter system

Local News

Angelina Erives, the young North Las Vegas girl who died last week when suspected gang members sprayed her home with bullets, will be laid to rest Saturday.

Currently, three suspects are in custody, but police are still looking for one more suspect in the 11-year-old’s murder. 

Detectives say the group targeted the wrong home when they intended to shoot another person’s home as a form of gang retaliation.    

8 News Now Reporter Darlene Melendez has more on how organizations in the valley are trying to intervene with young gang members to get them out of the system before it’s too late. 

They’re focused on preventative measures before the youth end up in the Clark County Detention Center. 

For some, the intervention works and they break free from the gangs. For others, the path sometimes gets worse.

“It’s a harsh reality that our kids are shooting other kids,” said John Munoz, deputy administrator for the state of Nevada’s Juvenile Services.  “It is a big problem in this community. Every day more kids are joining gangs. and more kids are dying because of it.  It’s about power and control and status and money, and they’ll do whatever they can to take it.”

The organization works with all law enforcement agencies to track down young gang members and use intervention strategies to keep them from going through the criminal system. 

There are numerous organizations with intervention strategies like youth mentor Montone White’s organizations, ‘Thug Life’ and the ‘Dunamis Process.’

“We tell young men all the time, ‘we’re not gonna save you,'” White said.

Instead, White and his colleagues teach young gang members to save themselves before it’s too late.

“There’s only three ways out of the system,” White said.  “You’re either gonna go to prison, you’re gonna be dead, or you’re gonna get out of the system. You gotta choose. Nobody is gonna hand it to you,” he said.

For some young gang members, the outreach works. For others, it doesn’t.

“It’s a very difficult and deadly cycle of behavior; the cycle of being a gang member,” Munoz said.

According to Munoz, it’s a harsh reality for Individuals who still choose to act recklessly because they need to be held accountable.

“If we can’t get through to them if we can’t get them to behave differently, then sooner or later they’re gonna end up in the adult system,” Munoz said. 

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