Yakima gangs evolving & targeting ally members

Yakima gangs evolving & targeting ally members »Play Video
YAKIMA, Wash. --Gangs are evolving in Yakima, YPD tells Action News that gangs are no longer only targeting their rivals. Now, some members are turning on each other. KIMA found out what this could mean for your safety. Gang-related shootings are nothing new to Yakima. However, YPD says gangs are behaving differently and that officers are now seeing gangs target their own members.

People like Cyrus Peterson are worried.

"I can't even run around the block without being worried what color I'd wear. Like I have to dress in all black or either white to be neutral to have these gang rivals shooting the same people, the same colors, it's just getting outrageous," said resident Cyrus Peterson.

That's what YPD thinks happened to David Silva in June along Cherry Avenue. Silva wasn't in a gang, but detectives think those close to him might have been. Sergeant Cortez says it was a Sureno on Sureno attack.

"It's unfortunate because again when you see red on red violence and you see blue on blue violence it's usually been in different cities. It's never been in Yakima" said YPD Sgt. David Cortez

It's something that is becoming more common. Police say when members disagree, they splinter off into smaller allies of the gang.

"When you're dealing with individuals with a violent history and then there's a problem amongst themselves, they don't know any other way to resolve their problems other than resorting to violence. And, so therefore they end up fighting amongst each other," Sgt. Cortez.

Anti-gang specialists say people should be concerned.

"A lot of innocent people get shot from maybe a block away because the bullets traveling. There's been cases here in Yakima and other places too where folks are enjoying the day and evening and they get hit," said Barrios Undios Director Alex Santillanes.

Police say the splintering of gangs creates a larger problem. Detectives say the bigger gangs constantly try to dominate and control the smaller ones.