Waco: Police warn of increased gang recruiting in schools

Published: Apr. 23, 2021 at 7:10 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX)-- Waco police are warning of increased gang recruiting in schools after a string of deadly shootings involving young people.

On April 4, Damon Morgan, Jr. 18, was killed near G.W. Carver Middle School.

Investigators said they believe the shooting was gang related.

Sixteen days later, on April 20, Ryan Abbott, 19, was killed in a shooting in a North Waco neighborhood.

Police also responded to several other shootings they believe to be gang-related.

“When I say gang, I don’t mean any of the big national gangs,” Waco Officer Garen Bynum said.

“Some of them are very local gangs and some even smaller than a gang, something that we would call a clique,” he said.

The Waco Police Department has been working with the Texas Anti-Gang Unit to find connections between the shootings and to disband any gang activity.

The Texas Anti-Gang or TAG Unit was formed in 2020 by the Texas governor’s office to eradicate gang violence through a multi-agency approach.

“It’s been a real asset to us to have that unit work with us,” said Bynum of the TAG Unit which is comprised of personnel from the Waco Police Department, the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office, the McLennan County District Attorney’s Office, the DPS and the U.S. Marshals Service.

Although not all the recent shootings have proven to be gang related, Waco police said parents should be cautious.

They say they have seen an increase in gang recruiting efforts in local schools this year.

“It used to be that you’d see the recruitment happen between the ages of 18-24 for these gangs but now the age is getting younger and younger,” Bynum said.

He suggests parents keep track of their children’s digital presence as often times those can provide clues into any nefarious activity.

The police department also urges community members to be proactive and call police if they see or hear anything suspicious.

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