A jailed Georgia gang leader allegedly ordered the killing of an infant boy, according to reports this week, highlighting the state’s gang problem.
The baby was found dead in a bathtub. When police arrived at an Atlanta-area residence, they found four people with gunshot wounds in the upstairs master bedroom. Two women lay injured on the floor and another woman was in the bathroom with 9-month-old KenDarious Edwards Jr. Both were shot. The mother survived but KenDarious did not.
Georgia gang leader Kenneth Eric Jackson, who the DeKalb County District Attorney claims is the highest ranking member of the Sex Money Murder Bloods, was indicted on murder and other charges for his alleged role in the May 2014 shooting death of KenDarious. The Sex Money Murder gang is a subsidiary of the Bloods, which started in Los Angeles but has expanded across the United States.
Officials said gang members acted on Jackson’s orders and forced their way into the home and opened fire. “You’re talking about a nine-month-old helpless child, and three women who tried to protect that child,” Cedric Alexander, DeKalb County Chief of Police, told reporters last week, according to CBS News.
— Neima Abdulahi (@NeimaNews) May 17, 2016
Jackson, known as “KG the God,” allegedly used a contraband mobile phone to order the hit, which officials believe was in retaliation for the slaying of another gang member who was allegedly killed by the uncle of KenDarious.
“This was a ruthless act ordered by a gang leader looking to spread fear and intimidation,” DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James said in a statement.
The two alleged gunmen, Marco Watson and Christopher Florence, were charged with malice murder, felony murder, and multiple counts of aggravated assault.
Atlanta’s gang problem on the rise; local gangs pushed out
According to Newsweek, the infant’s murder suggests there are problems with prison security and how incarcerated gang leaders communicate across the country. In a worrying development, officials said Jackson ordered the murder from prison and, in an even more stunning move, was apparently in touch with his top two commanders, who are locked up in the maximum-security, federal SuperMax prison in Colorado.
“Typically, in gang culture you cannot kill another member of the gang unless there’s authorization from higher above,” DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James told Newsweek.
A local police official said that national gangs have overrun Atlanta, instead of local gangs.
“When I was growing up here most of what we called gangs were neighborhood gangs,” Lt. Corey Swain, head of the gang unit at the DeKalb County Police Department, told the magazine. “But now we have the national gangs that everyone has read about and seen movies about—[they’ve] actually moved into the Atlanta area.”
— Adam Murphy (@MurphyCBS46) May 17, 2016
James said that local-area gangs like Savage the Block started getting pushed out by larger gangs like Sex Money Murder, a Bloods subsidiary that started in the New York City jail system in 1993, and Chicago’s Gangster Disciples, which was started in the late 1960s. The Atlanta-Journal Constitution last year reported that the gangs have set up locations in Atlanta’s suburbs.
“It’s almost like a hostile takeover, if I put in business language.… What we started seeing in DeKalb County was a greater deal of discipline and organization [within the gangs.] We started seeing more murders, of gang members and of civilians,” James said.
James said that his office is going after gang leaders to deal with the problem.
“We’re going after the leadership. We’re going after OGs, original gangsters, people who are orchestrating things,” James was quoted by Newsweek as saying. “If you want to kill a snake, you have to cut the head off the snake.”