Targeting gang members involved in murders

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Updated: 4/15/2013 9:14 am Published: 4/12/2013 10:47 pm

Tulsa police are now talking with the US Attorney’s Office about possible federal charges in the case of Anthony Campbell, who was shot to death in his driveway on April 3rd in North Tulsa.

FOX23 News first reported Campbell had been a federal witness in a case that put gang members in prison for multiple robberies.

Lorell Battle and Gaywone Blades are in the Tulsa County jail on separate charges involving guns and drugs.

However, police say they are known gang members. They have not been charged in the death of Anthony Campbell, but they are being questioned.

FOX23 News rode along with Tulsa Police Organized Gang Unit Sergeant Sean Larkin to learn more about the unit's efforts to stop gang murders and shootings in Tulsa.

At a convenience store near 46th Street North and MLK Blvd. Sgt. Larkin spotted a self-proclaimed gang member who he made contact with on Thursday.

Immediately the teen starts mouthing off, cussing and throwing obscene gestures at the sergeant.

Larkin documents the teen in its gang file.

Sergeant Larking says gang-killings often go unsolved because of an atmosphere of disrespect and fear.

"That's what gangsters do they put fear and terrorize their neighborhood,” said Larkin.

In the last eight murders in Tulsa involving gang members, two have been solved.  Scott Norman was shot and killed in the parking lot of the midtown Best Buy. A stray bullet killed shopper Wes Brown inside the store.

"Gang cases in themselves are much harder to close,” said Larkin.

Although Sgt. Larkin says gang homicides and shootings are down this year compared to last year, gang feuds are unpredictable.

"It's emotion, it's spur of the moment when an opportunity pops up,” said Larkin.
When they patrol neighborhoods they document people who they run across and will make arrests on various charges from drugs, guns, to domestic violence and question them about the bigger cases while they can.

"We might not able to solve the shooting or a homicide that would put the guy away for life or a long time but you get them off the street now so he is off the street not causing problems,” said Larkin.

Overtime is used on special assignments targeting gang members and guns. However, Sgt. Larkin says when he became the OGU Sergeant in 2008, they worked off a $200,000 federal gang grant that’s now been cut to $34,000.

Currently, the TPD is applying for a $2.1 million grant that could help pay for several special assignments for police.

This year there have been 24 homicides in Tulsa. Most have been solved. However, its rate is on the same pace as the record number of homicides in 2009 when there were 71 murders in Tulsa.

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