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Mattawa is just a small agricultural community in Grant county. But gang violence has increased sharply in recent years, beginning with a triple homicide two years ago.
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Mattawa Police Chief Steve Jensen says the community lacks money for a youth center or after school programs that might help keep kids from joining gangs.
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Homes and buildings peppered with bullet holes are becoming frighteningly common; police have even begun taping over the holes so they can keep track of the most recent.
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In Mattawa, almost everyone, including gang members, live within 1/2 mile of the school. It may only be matter of time before a child is struck in the crossfire.
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This gang member was willing to speak with us, but asked that we keep his identity a secret. He says guns are easy to get if you know where to go.
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ATF Special Agent-in-Charge Kelvin Crenshaw holds a confiscated TEC-9 semi-automatic. It is popular among gangs because of its large ammo capacity and menacing appearance.
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Law enforcement agents say gang members are armed with every type of firearm imaginable, from handguns to shotguns to assault rifles.
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Sergeant Dave Cortez (Yakima Police Dept.) oversees the program, GREAT: Gang Resistance, Education & Training. He says gang issues must be addressed in homes and schools.
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Police in Yakima confiscate a handgun from a suspected gang member. Officers readily admit they are outmanned and outgunned on the streets.
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A small shrine for 20-year-old Leonardo Perez, father of two, who was shot and killed by a member of his own gang during a fight, just blocks from an elementary school.
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