A Utah teenager was sent to the hospital with a bullet wound in his chest from what is believed to be a gang related shooting at Liberty Park.
The 16 year old victim was at Liberty Park with a girl when three boys believed to be 14 years old stopped and confronted them. Some heated words were exchanged followed by one of the 14 year olds shooting the victim in the chest. This gang related shooting doesn’t appear to be a planned meeting, just a chance encounter between members of different gangs.
Young victim and younger suspects
Both the victim and the suspects of the gang related shooting were minors, most of who were not even old enough to carry a drivers’ license. At an age when most kids are barely starting high school, what gang ties could these teenagers possibly have?
Why kids join gangs
There are several reasons why young teenagers join gangs.
• Older siblings already gang members. Not everything handed down is harmless. Following the lead or even being initiated by an older sibling is sometimes a reason for joining a gang.
• To fit in or have friends. Teenage years are a tough age that can turn kids towards any group that will openly accept them. Gangs may also offer protection to teens who live in high crime areas.
• Fun or boredom fixer. Gangs are glorified by movies and TV which show gang life as being exciting and rewarding while doing whatever you want at the expense of others.
• By force. Teenagers don’t always willingly join gangs. Sometimes they are forced or threatened to join a certain gang or to pick a side between multiple rivals.
Warning signs of gang activity
Parents need to be aware of the warning signs of potential gang activity such as: wearing gang colors, knowing signs, drug use, withdrawing from family, and having large amounts of money. Intervening early can protect teenagers from becoming the victim or the suspect in gang related shootings. For information on criminal charges for teenage gang members, contact a criminal defense attorney.
A 17-year-old Utah teen is being investigated for his alleged role in an attempted murder earlier this week.
Who Else Was Involved?
Police know the young man was one of five occupants in a car that was involved in a drive-by shooting in the Kearns area. Unfortunately for the Utah teen, authorities believe that he was the one who fired several shots towards a Kearns home—in the direction of one resident who was standing outside the home.
All five of the car’s occupants are thought to have gang connections. The other four people in the vehicle, including another teen, have all been arrested pending investigation into their roles in the shooting.
Elements of Attempting to Commit a Crime
A person may be guilty of an attempt to commit a crime if he:
• Does certain things that would legally constitute a substantial step towards the commission of the crime
• Intends to commit the crime or
• Acts in such a way that he knows his action is likely to produce a certain result
Attempted murder (in adult court) is frequently charged as a first degree felony. The punishment for committing attempted murder can differ from one case to the next, depending on the circumstances.
People of all ages do become involved in gangs. There are laws in Utah that make persuading or even forcing a minor to become involved in a gang illegal. However, freedom of choice is still a positive benefit of living in this country.
Even Kids Need Legal Help
If your child has been arrested or is otherwise involved in a juvenile court case, don’t wait to talk to a Utah juvenile defense attorney. Kids’ rights aren’t supposed to be overlooked, but it’s better to make sure that your son or daughter has the best juvenile defense possible. Make that important call today.
In spite of the efforts of law enforcement, Utah gangs seem to be thriving. However, there are laws against involving minors in gangs, and the penalties can be severe.
Penalties Involving Utah Gangs
It’s illegal to solicit, recruit, entice or intimidate a minor (someone under the age of 18) to join a criminal street gang—even if the youth doesn’t join the gang. Attempting any of these methods will earn a person a class B misdemeanor.
It is also a class B misdemeanor to try and stop a juvenile from leaving a gang. Unfortunately, that’s probably easier said than done, because once a kid joins a gang the members will likely pull out all stops to try and keep him involved with gang activities.
If a gang member tries to intimidate a minor to commit or attempt to commit a criminal misdemeanor, that person could be charged with a class A misdemeanor. It’s also illegal for a gang member to try to get a minor to recruit another minor more than once within a 180-day period. Committing this crime can earn a person up to one year in jail.
Most Kids Just Want to Belong Somewhere
Even though the legal penalties should be enough to keep your kids from joining Utah gangs, many youth looking for a place where they feel like they belong might send them right into gang members’ arms.
If your child has become embroiled in a gang, ask for help. Don’t wait around hoping your kid will “see the light” and leave a gang. Also, any legal troubles your child is in warrant an immediate phone call to a Utah juvenile defense attorney. Do what you can to help your kids get help while they’re young, before they get involved in serious trouble.
Kids join gangs every day in the United States, and Utah isn’t immune. There are many reasons kids join gangs, and just as many reasons to keep kids out of gangs.
Some Reasons Kids Join Gangs:
• Acceptance—Who doesn’t want to be accepted? Most people want to feel that there are others who like them just for who they are. Gangs will accept your kids for any reason.
• Peer pressure—Every kid feels peer pressure, whether it’s to have the right clothes or be like their friends. The pressure a gang puts on a person can be relentless. A gang has no reason to give up on pressuring your child to join them.
• Curiosity—Have you ever done anything purely out of curiosity? There are a lot of people—kids included—who try something just to see what it’s like. It can be smoking pot or joining a gang, if the individual isn’t given a better option.
• Feeling of Importance—People like to feel important. Some people might join a gang to increase their feelings of being able to be in charge or boss people around. Unfortunately, that can result in criminal activity, too.
Reasons to Keep Kids Out of Gangs:
• Education—Your child’s opportunities to increase his education will dramatically increase if he’s not affiliated with a gang. There aren’t too many gangs that place much importance on a college education.
• Freedom—Gangs are usually involved in some type of criminal activity. Let your kids know that their personal freedom is at stake when they are involved with a gang.
• Finances—There are times when you don’t want to share your wealth. Kids should be able to have a job that allows them to keep their paycheck. Stealing and splitting the ill-gotten gain isn’t the way to financial success.
Keep in touch with your kids. Know their friends and what they do in their spare time. You can have a lot more influence in your children’s lives if you start when they’re young. Just because some kids join gangs doesn’t mean your kids have to.
If you have a child who needs legal help, don’t wait until it’s too late. Call a Utah juvenile defense attorney who will understand the needs of children and who can help you navigate the juvenile justice system in Utah.