Claim: Gang initiates are attempting to force cars off roads in order to murder the occupants.
Example: [Collected via e-mail, 2007]
Tonight Wayne had an accident tow – and it was pretty scary! This truly happened tonight on
A young couple with their baby were traveling on
Wayne talked to the highway patrolman who told them that this is a Gang Initiation thing coming out of Charlotte. If you stop, they shoot you – and if you don’t stop, they continue to attempt to get you to stop. They have been unable to catch these people “in the act” – just getting the reports afterwards.
Thankfully, this couple and their baby were okay. I made sure I passed this on to my kids -pass it on to your friends and family as well. I cannot imagine how scared this couple must have been.
Origins: This e-mailed warning about a purported gang initiation by murder of a random victim in South Carolina began arriving in the snopes.com inbox in
I contacted First Sergeant Guempel of the While the accident did occur, it appears the facts have been embellished.
E-mails are beginning to circulate about an incident that occurred last week on
I contacted First Sergeant Guempel of the
While the accident did occur, it appears the facts have been embellished.
The story’s “gang initiation by murder of randomly-chosen victim” premise is the theme of a number of scares documented on this site, all of them baseless (e.g., drivers who flash their headlights at a darkened car (as a way of alerting those being flashed at that their vehicle’s headlights are not on), motorists lured into pulling off to the side of the road by gangbangers who flash their headlights at him (as a way of indicating there’s something wrong with the targeted victims’ vehicles), women refueling their vehicles at gas stations having prospective
gang members hide themselves in their cars so as to kidnap, rape and murder the women when they get back in and drive off, and women and children in
South Carolina is in the throes of recognizing it has an escalating gang problem, and some folks in that area are only now starting to shake off their “We’re too rural for that to happen here” mentality and wake up to what has been going on around them. While gangs of various stripe have been growing in number and membership in that region for some time, only recently has their presence come to be viewed as anything other than restricted to isolated pockets of activity.
But that is changing. Of this awakening. said the Charleston Post and Courier in February 2007:
Police departments are forming specialized gang units. Lawmakers are working to institute tougher penalties for gang members. Communities are meeting to discuss the threat. And officials are assembling a statewide computer database to track identified gang
Part of that awakening process may well be the spread of wild tales about ruthless gangs that induct new members by having them murder victims chosen on a whim.
Yet the murder of haphazardly-chosen victims isn’t a common gang induction ritual, in South Carolina or elsewhere in the U.S. While each troop has its own rites of passage, the usual mode of induction remains being “jumped
There have been instances of initiations into street gangs that led to the murder of random victims, but they are rare. Generally, they don’t involve gang hopefuls being clearly commanded by their overlords to take the lives of the haphazardly-selected but are rather instances of killings that occur incidentally during the course of criminal tasks that prospective initiates had been sent to accomplish by their
For instance, as part of his initiation into the Bloods in December 2004 in Harford County, Maryland, 18-year-old Wayne Lavon
Similarly, in February 2004 in New York, when 18-year-old Charles
However, there has been at least one documented case of initiation into a gang being effected by way of the murder of randomly-selected strangers. On
The two gang leaders who ordered the abductions, Francisco Tirado and Eric Devon Queen, were found guilty of all charges against them, including first-degree murder, burglary, kidnapping, robbery with a dangerous weapon, conspiracy, attempted first-degree murder, and assault with intent to kill, inflicting serious injury. Queen told police he shot Lambert in the head while the others watched. Eventually, all nine participants in the murders were charged and convicted.
Barbara “gang planked” Mikkelson
Last updated: 12 July 2011
Fenton, Justin. “Teen Sentenced in Harford.” The Baltimore Sun. 3 June 2006 (p. B8). Fenton, Justin. “A Glimpse Into Gang Initiation.” The Baltimore Sun. 2 April 2006 (p. G1). Quillin, Martha. “State Seeks Death for Pair of Defendants.” [Raleigh] News and Observer. 4 April 2000 (p. A1). Shifrel, Scott. “‘Took This Guy’s Life for Nothing’ — Killer.” [New York] Daily News. 19 January 2006 (p. 33). Smith, Glenn.
“Increases in Violence and Other Crimes Have Forced S.C. to Address a Growing Problem.” The [Charleston] Post and Courier. 25 February 2007 (p. A1).