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Fatal Shooting Raises Specter of Gang Violence | Crime

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Fatal Shooting Raises Specter of Gang Violence
Crime

LAS VEGAS - A barrage of bullets flew when two rival gangs met at the Avery Park Apartments Sunday night. What started as a fight between two groups ended in bloodshed around 8:30 p.m..

Twenty-one-year-old Charles Taylor died from multiple gunshot wounds. Metro says two suspects, including the gunman, fled on foot.

Nick Tortarolo is alarmed about Sunday night's murder.

"It sure happened close to home. It's very unnerving," he said. "I've lived here 21 years, and in the majority of the last ten or so, it's gotten rough."

Tortarolo blames gang activity.

"It's not surprising to find out that the gangs are in the area again. We've had them before, and we are going to have to get rid of them again," he said.

Kevin Child is the community chaplain for Messages of Faith, a group that works with gangs and youth.

"We have a gang issue, absolutely," he said. "We're making improvements, absolutely, in Las Vegas, because of the partnership between Metro and organizations here in the valley."

Sunday's gang-related homicide near Lake Mead Boulevard and Torrey Pines Drive follows last week's possible gang-related mass shooting of seven mourners at a funeral. Experts say the incidents show the problem is ongoing.

"They're recruiting kids at third grade levels," Child said. "Gang members are all the way up to 30-years-old, sometimes 40 depending on where they're at. Gangs are not just in one place. They're all over."

After bullets flew in the neighborhood he cares deeply about, Tortarolo vows vigilance.

"Nobody's going to drive me from my home," he said. "I'm not going to be run out by punks who think they can have the upper hand over me or anybody."

Gang experts estimate 11,000 people in the Las Vegas area are connected to gangs, including 5,000 minors.

Anyone with information about Sunday's shooting is urged to contact Crime Stoppers.

Crime