SPECIAL ASSIGNMENT: Gangs of eastern Iowa - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

SPECIAL ASSIGNMENT: Gangs of eastern Iowa

by John Wilmer

WATERLOO (KWWL) - The gangs of eastern Iowa are rarely seen, but their signs and the scars they leave behind are all too visible.

Dorothy Currington has felt the pain of this violence not once, but twice. In August of 2008 her grandson Terrence Currington was shot and killed while sitting in his car.

Less than a year later in June 2004 her nephew Robert Robinson was killed outside a Waterloo bar. During the murder trial prosecutors say a member of a rival gang shot Robinson.

"For something to happen again that quickly in our family and to this day they still haven't solved Terrence's, so it's an ongoing thing for us," said Currington.

Currington says the loss for her loved ones is tough especially during this time of year.

"You kind of reflect back on the things that you would do together during those holidays and it's just an empty space."

Sergeant Keith Rogers of the Waterloo Police Department is the investigator that primarily deals with gangs and gang related crimes.

"We have approximately 10 active gangs in Waterloo," Rogers said.

Rogers say teenagers join gangs for several reasons, but one is most common.

"They have no effective home life they don't have parental supervisors at home that type of things so there's a lot of reason but it's not racial."

To keep kids from following this destructive path The Boys and Girls Club of Black Hawk County is focusing on those who are most at.

"A lot of our program is structured that gives them a sense of belonging a lot of that same concept can be applied to gangs. They feel if their a member of a gang they get the sense of belonging that they are apart of something bigger than themselves," said Jason Barta the Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club.

As for Currington, she says time hasn't healed her wounds, but being with family helps.

"Yeah, will all be together and remember the ones that are not here," Currington said.

Online Reporter: John Wilmer

Powered by Frankly