Ivanhoe Gang Summit

August 26, 2008 8:58:38 PM PDT
A south valley community is coming together to make a stand against gang violence.This comes after a deadly shooting in Ivanhoe last week, and the recent murder of a Tulare County Sheriff's Deputy.

People are here setting up getting started ... Tuesday's event hopes to bring the community of Ivanhoe together to rid gangs in the community. We talked to one who knows too well the painful result from gang violence.

Two brothers from Ivanhoe ... two victims of gang violence ... Their father, Mario Martinez, says gangs have also destroyed his life.

Mario Martinez: "I see ... no reason to be a gang member or to take someone else's life for the purpose of being a tough guy."

In 1998, 18 year old Mario Martinez Jr. was shot in the chest at close range by an opposing gang member. Nine years later, his brother, 11-year old Steven who swore he would never join a gang after his brother died, was killed in a drive-by shooting. Martinez is still struggling to come to terms with the murders of his only sons.

Martinez: "There was a lot of emotions a lot of things that go through our heads things that you never imagined sadness emptiness ... um depression"

Just last week a suspected gang shooting left one man dead in front of an Ivanhoe apartment complex. Last December, Sheriff's Detective Kent Haws was killed while investigating a suspicious vehicle near Ivanhoe.

Supervisor Steve Worthley says he hopes parents and kids at Tuesday's gang summit will be inspired by Martinez's story and recent crimes to make a big change in the small community.

Steve Worthley: "But it begins a process more awareness neighborhood watch programs coming out of this parental responsibility coming to the floor student recognizing and being held accountable for their actions"

Martinez says it will be hard to tell his story to the community of Ivanhoe but he believes it is what his sons would have wanted him to do.

Martinez: "I don't have my kids but I know they're ok I know they are in a place where they don't suffer no more. And I keep in touch with them every single minute thru my heart and my soul."

Worthley says it was the people of Ivanhoe who really wanted this summit to take place. Martinez will speak at 7:15.

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