• Story alerts
  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it

Chad, 19, graduated from Carlsbad High School and has friends in Oceanside.

“I think it’s the drugs that messes up kids’ heads,” Chad says. “Drugs make people do crazy things, and they start going against each other. It creates competition. When I was 13, a lot of my friends started using PCP and acid, and they started giving it to me for free. And then after, like, half a year, once I was already hooked, then they wanted to start charging me for it. So that’s how they got me. And how are you going to get money when you’re 13? So I had to start stealing and stuff. I did what I had to, because I was just up in my head. I wasn’t thinking about anyone else at the time. So I actually went with the skinhead crew for a little while. It messed up a lot of my relationships with friends and my family. But I got out of that a couple years ago, and I’m trying to change some of my buddies around now.”

At the mention of gangs, one kid runs his hands back and forth over the top of his head and says, “I don’t feel right talking about that.”

Another kid won’t give his name or age but does say, “My friends have mugged people right in front of me, but I don’t get involved. We’ll be walking, and they’ll pull out a knife and try to take someone’s money. Whenever that happens, I just want to get out of the scene.”

Israel, 16, goes to El Camino High School. He lives in the Back Gate.

“I don’t really go out that much,” Israel says. “My parents insist on me staying inside. Especially at night. Back when that cop died, that was crazy. And when they killed that kid. That was bad, too. But otherwise, I guess I hear cop cars and gunshots sometimes from my house, but not all that much. I’m pretty used to how it is here, though. This is where I live. I don’t feel unsafe. This is my home.”

Back Gate Shootings

The main street running through the Back Gate is Vandegrift Boulevard. Many of the other streets in the area, including Arthur, Gold, and Charles streets, either cross Vandegrift at some point or run closely parallel to it.

ON VANDEGRIFT BOULEVARD:

Aug. 19, 2006 — A man in his 30s is shot near Camp Pendleton’s back gate about 3:00 a.m. and walks into a hospital 12 hours later for treatment.

March 14, 2004 — A 23-year-old man is shot at a convenience store around 1:30 a.m. He survives.

ON ARTHUR AVENUE:

June 10, 2006 — Two men, aged 23 and 24, are shot after arguing with men in a sedan while in front of a home near North River Road. They survive.

Oct. 15, 2005 — Jimmy Malo, 27, shoots at and misses three Oceanside police detectives as they patrol a street in an unmarked vehicle. Authorities call Malo a gang member, but a jury disagrees. He’s convicted of attempted voluntary manslaughter and assault with a firearm and faces up to 26 years in prison.

July 23, 2005 — Jonathan Cobb, 19, of Menifee, fires three shots at the home of a rival gang member, hitting no one. Cobb pleads guilty to shooting at an occupied home and is sentenced to eight years in prison.

April 22, 2005 — A 17-year-old is shot in the leg while crossing a parking lot in the 600 block of North Redondo Way. The teen goes to a friend’s house on Arthur Avenue and calls for help.

March 14, 2004 — Shortly before 6:00 a.m., shots are fired into a garage door, hitting a 41-year-old Oceanside woman. She survives.

ON GOLD DRIVE:

Dec. 20, 2006 — Officer Dan Bessant is fatally shot while on an unrelated traffic stop. Gang members Meki Gaono, 17, and Penifoti “C.J.” Taeotui, 16, plead not guilty in adult court and await trial.

June 9, 2005 — Rusty Seau, 16, is fatally shot in a fight with a rival gang. Tony Lessie, 17, is convicted of murder, as an adult, and sentenced to 40 years to life in prison.

March 16, 2004 — Lacy Charles Black, 26, fires at a former gang member and his sister in front of their home. The brother is hit four times and survives. The sister is unhurt. Black is convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to 65 years to life in prison.

ON CHARLES DRIVE:

March 16, 2004 — Shots are fired into a house, missing a 34-year-old man inside.

Sources: Oceanside Police Department and the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Benevolent Street

Soldier #1

Salilo Moimoi is a huge fellow with a recognizably Samoan body type: round yet jutting face, thick neck, broad shoulders, enormous arms and legs, and big hands. He wears his dark hair pulled back in a ponytail. His goatee has begun to show strands of dignified gray.

“It all started out for me in the deep valley, looking for a place of belonging, you know,” Moimoi says. “I never hung out with my parents much. So I ran the streets and found people that were lonely like me, I guess.”

Moimoi sits at a cement picnic table in John Landes Park. It’s Saturday morning. He’s here to participate in a public antigang event called Victory Outreach. But now he’s gazing off into the green trees with a look of reminiscence.

“And then I got into a gang, the Deep Valley Bloods,” he says in a tone that implies he knows how stupid that decision was. “I was about 13 or 14. And me and my other friend, I’m not going to say his name, but we were the youngest out of the whole crowd. The jump-ins were crazy. On Arthur Street, we used to make two lines. And you’d have to run down the middle. You’d have to make it to the other end to get jumped in. And there was, like, 18 of them every time, to jump you in, to become a gang member. They’d kick you, punch you, and you’d be crawling through the line, and the best thing to do, I learned, was just run. Keep your hands up, and fight back, and run. Because once you fall, you’re not going to make it.”

  • Story alerts
  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it

More from SDReader

More from the web

Comments

Anonymous Feb. 20, 2008 @ 12:13 p.m.

........At the annual Oceanside Samoan Cultural Celebration last summer, over 200 attendees listened to traditional music, participated in traditional and not-so-traditional dancing, and watched and competed in cultural activities such as banana-peeling contests....

over 200 attendees? More like 200,000....

0

Anonymous Feb. 20, 2008 @ 12:40 p.m.

In 2006 and 2007, I lived in Oceanside west of Coast Highway. I have not always had the best luck with cops, but I felt very safe there. The police are real professional and take their time talking with people when they stop them for various things. I saw them contain a potentially explosive situation during the 4th of July weekend at the beach.

They patrol a lot and are very visible all around the city. They go to the high schools when they let out to discourage after school fights and unruly crowds.

Oceanside should be very proud of their police force.

0

Jose619 Feb. 22, 2008 @ 3:24 p.m.

Interesting cover story, but way vague and definitely NOT the hot bed of activity the media portrays. Compared to Southeast San Diego and City Heights, Oceanside is tame and cannot compare to the level of gang activity in the aforementioned areas. 11 gangs in one area? Please. Southeast San Diego has Lomita, PH, Encanto, SE Locos, SE Tokers, MV73 Locos, ST Gamma, ST 38th, Sherman ghp, 20th, 27th, Logan Heights RS, 30ta, Bayside X3, SEK LS, Market Street, WC Crips, 30th Street Crips, Lincoln Park Bloods with 3 clicks, Skyline Piru, The Basement Brims, etc, etc, etc. and that is to name a few. Not counting the number of members. Any police officer in the Southeast patrol can tell you Logan has well over 500 members. Old Town National City, had about 300, and lets not even BEGIN to mention City Heights, that has 10 or 11 hispanic gangs warring in an 10 block radius. And did we fail to mention the number of probationary/confederate stepping stone crews that platform into the existing gang? The list goes on and on. Any search of the newspaper in the last month will list shootings and homicides and gang-related activity in Shelltown and City Heights on a regular basis. Not flare-ups, but ongoing feuds that have been going on for decades. Civil war people, in your own back yards.

So please, Reader, how about a story on a REAL gang plagued neighborhood, such as the Bay Vista Apartments that require 24 hour surveillance cameras and guards and people are STILL getting killed inside the complex due to a gangs' strong hold. Or contact the gang detectives who work out of the Skyline station and have them tell you about the 15 year old's who have killed 4 or 5 people and by the age of 20 are hardened murderers. They will tell you of how Paradise Hills have been professional victims, losing 4 young men to bullcrap over the last year. And about how The SouthCrest neighborhood is under seige by the local hispanic gangs that CONSTANTLY shoot it out on a WEEKLY basis on Delta, Gamma, and Boston Avenues. How do I know?

I know, I was contributing to the problem for 15 years until I changed my life and have dedicated my resources to helping these young men.

0

chinky187 May 9, 2012 @ 2:51 p.m.

pff...we may have less but how many of them kill cops and kids...

0

realtalk22 Feb. 22, 2008 @ 6:25 p.m.

Heres a quick lesson and hopefully OPD reads this, because they seem uninformed about the gangs in their own city.

"Crook Mob Gangsters" is not the name of the gang, it is actually "Crook Mob Gangsta Crip" formally "East Side Crips".

Krook City Bloods has alot more members than OPD knows. KCB started in the mid 80s and is not based in tri-city. Unlike other gangs claiming 1 specific neighborhood. Krook City Bloods is broken into factions for each part of the city. Members from Tri City were formally a serparate gang before merging under the Krook City Bloods umbrella but were known simply as Tri City Bloods. Members from Krook City Bloods who live in Tri City fall under the moniker "T/C Krook City Bloods" & members who live on the eastside fall under "E/S Krook City Bloods members from the Mid Valley are known as "M/V Krook City Bloods. The gang is 50% samoan and 50% being Blacks Mexican ETC.

& for Det. Young from Oceanside Police Department, the first Bloods & Crips gangs in Deep Valley, were both samoan gangs. Who ever lived on the the west side of vandergrift were modeled after Los Angeles' "Sons of Samoa" gang (created to seperate themselves from samoans who lived towards Arthur Avenue) and the gang members on the east side of Vandergrift were modeled after L.A Bloods and were known as "Valley Boys". They formed as a Bloods gang same time as South San Diego gangs with original ties to San Diego's "5/9 Brims" & L.A gangs. Oceanside's Downtown area streets north of Surfrider were a hotbed for L.A Crip gangs during the early 80s looking to score big with crack sales. These became their early enemies before Deep Valley Crips was created. During this time period The younger blacks who lived in close proximity to the toll bridge formed a crew called "Deep Valley Foot Soldiers (1987)" and it wasnt until the release of the movie "Colors" starring Sean Penn (1988), that they then changed their name to "Deep Valley Crips". 2nd generation "Valley Boys" wanted to show more affiliation and represent the section of Oceanside they came from and became "Deep Valley Bloods".

"Thunders Hills" was created by a former "Deep Valley Crips" member who was distraut over his brothers (Darrel Kirby) death and his (Mark Kirby) own near death shooting. "Posole" has a west side based gang which originated in the area surrounding Marvin Street & Sherbourne Park area before "Thunder Hills" was created.

0

realtalk22 Feb. 22, 2008 @ 7:26 p.m.

To Jose619: your trying to compare a population of 2.5 million (San Diego) to 180,000 (Oceanside). To be frank, 2 great police officers were murdered in the last 3 years in Oceanside by gang members from the Mesa Margarita aka The Back Gate area. It would be a dis-service not to let the county know whats going on.

0

Jose619 Feb. 23, 2008 @ 11:28 a.m.

Actually RealTalk, you misinterpreted my post. I was only referring to TWO areas of San Diego. If you took a census of the residents of 92105-92113 (City Heights/Southeast San Diego) I am sure you will find well under 2.5 million. I am only focusing on one of two areas as well, not the whole city. I respect your post, no offense taken. Great follow up on # 4.

0

realtalk22 Feb. 23, 2008 @ 4:10 p.m.

I didnt take anything out of context...But just to put it in your terms....Southeast San Diego has probaly 10 times the poplution than Oceanside's Mesa Margarita..If you cut the population down in SD..U have to do the same in the small city....What your trying to do is self promote, only to suit your ideas. Regardless of your personal feelings of disrespect towards the editor for not publicizing your gang. If police officers are murdered than it deserves attention. For you to suggest vague over information is idiotic. RIP Dan Bessant & Tony Zeppetella

0

VinOne Feb. 23, 2008 @ 6:17 p.m.

Realtalk 22, I'm glad you posted all that information on the real history of the O'side Gang's. Another point I would like to mention is that the South Oceanside Posse, which usually kicked it at Buccaneer park on the weekends, was primarily black but wasn't the only gang out of South Oceanside. One of the most violent gangs that ran through most of Oceanside and Carlsbad was the O'side Suicidals, or the Suey's. They were a mix of every culture and had ties to every gang in the area as well as the Hell's Angel's. I'm not sure who originally started it, but was ran by Suey Joe for a long time. I was never sure of the number of people in this crew, but I did know they ran pretty deep.

There were also quite a few of Graffiti Krew's in the area as well. FTS, SSK, DA, and BDR being some of the most well known and respected. I know that those krew's would often have as many as 40-50 members in them spanning a huge age gap as well. While maybe not as violent as many of the gangs, they also contributed to the deliquency of many young people.

0

Jose619 Feb. 24, 2008 @ 8:07 a.m.

Realtalk,

Great to see you majored in Psychology. Thanks for the clarification on my underlying motivation. Pardon me if you are overly sensitive, but if you care to take a moment to review, there is not "one gang" as you stated that I am offended was not publicized. The hispanic neighborhood I grew up in doesn't need any more publicity, as it has injunctions, the largest membership, connections with the slain cardinal in Tijuana, and a great number of expendable youth. I spent 2 years in Chino, Adler Hall, and 2 in Chuckawalla. I got out and received a degree in Public Administration. I work with Probation and the shot callers from different Varrio's to calm tensions. Self promotion to suit my ideas? Listen "Real", if you have a hidden agenda, then you are more than welcome to come talk to me. You can find me in the Alley on Martin Avenue, 1/2 a block east of 30th street in Logan Heights. Tell the youngsters in the alley that you are there to see me, and please, proceed with caution. You can come into my yard, eat, and conversate. This is a public forum and I have the right to express my views and concerns. My grief was with the Reader, not with anyone else. I do not have time for chatter games. As I stated, come see me, but please do so before dark. And you forgot to include the RIPs of the OTHER innocent victims next to the police officers. We already can tell who you champion for the cause. Be sure to cover the "Back the badge" sticker on your bumper when you come visit.

Take comments like a grain of salt. Don't be so sensitive and offensive with name calling. MY offer stands. Come visit.

0

realtalk22 Feb. 24, 2008 @ 11:04 p.m.

Come on Jose, just by your response its clear you want me to know where your from. Lets have a meeting in National City? Now how does that sound? It sounds pretty absurd doesnt it. Its like me saying lets have one with some acre boys or some insane boys present...Look I commend you on your accomplishments and I meant no disrespect I was stating that it would be idiotic for a person to look past a cover story being informational not glorification. Theres rough neighb orhoods everywhere, its better to cover some than none, right? I agree that southeast deserves attention too but I didnt write the article. Hopefully you can understand what I'm trying to say.

0

fadedinoside March 7, 2008 @ 1:16 p.m.

THE GUY WHO WROTE THIS IS OBVIOUSLY NOT FROM OCEANSIDE.... UNFORTUNATLEY IN THIS SITUATION I AM, AND I WOULD LIKE TO THANK THE WRITER FOR PUTTING THE HUGES MISREPRESENTATION OF OCEANSIDE ON THE COVER OF THE READER... MABEE IT WILL KEEP THE DORKY TOURISTS FROM VISITING OUR CITY THUS DESTROYING LOCAL BUSSINESS THAT THRIVES ON TOURIST MONEY. BUT YOU DONT CARE ABOUT THAT.. YOU LEFT OUT SOOO MANY GOOD PEOPLE THAT HAVE BEEN KILLED IN OCEANSIDE DUE TO GANG VIOLENCE, ITS SICKENING. WHAT A CROCK, YOU DIDNT EVEN TOUCHE BASE ON OUR GANG ACTIVITY. HOWEVER OCEANSIDE ISNT A GANG RIDDLED CITY...SURE WE HAVE OUR SHARE OF GANGS, BUT ITS A CITY FULL OF CLUTURE AND DIVERSITY,JUST LIKE THE REST OF SD, AND HOW DARE YOU ATTEMPT TO EXPLOIT US LIKE THAT? YOU ARE NOT A PROFFESSIONAL SIR, NOT AT ALL... WHAT WAS WITH THE BAD JAIL HOUSE TATS AND SHAVED CHEST ON THE COVER? DUDE, THERE ARE PEOPLE WIH OCEANSIDE TATOOED ON THEIR FACE , THAT GUYS DIDNT HAVE IT ON HIM ONCE... THAT WAS LAME . YOU MADE US LOOK BAD, AND NOW ITS TIME FOR SOMEONE TO MAKE YOU LOOK BAD... IF YOU ARE GONNA THROW IT UP FOR OCEANSIDE, THEN THROW IT UP, DONT MISSREPRESENT, THATS HOW PEOPLE GET HURT. FURTHER MORE, THE RESPONSE NOW IN SD IS NOTHING BUT PEOPLE WHO EITHER DONT LIKE YOU AS A PERSON, OR dont like oceanside thinking we were in on that article or something BUT WE WERE NOT! NOW PEOPLE WANT THEIR CITY REPRESENTED AS THE GANG CAPITAL OF SD INSTEAD OF OSIDE, AS IF ITS SOMETHING TO BRAGG ABOUT. ALL YOU DID WAS GLORIFY AN ALREADY OUT OF CONTROL PROBLEM.. NOT TO MENTION YOU DOWN PLAYED THE GANG NUMBERS BY HUNDREDS, AND LEFT A NUMBER OF GANGS OUT OF THE REGISTRY. YOU EVEN MADE A FEW UP, LIKE SOUTH O POSSE, WHAT THE HELL IS THAT? YOU ARE NOTHING BUT A CLOWN. YOU BLEW IT HARD DUDE. YOU SHOULD PROBABLY BE FIRED FOR THAT.

0

Hiatus23 March 15, 2008 @ 12:01 a.m.

I feel that post like these are what oceanside needs and the word should be spread to the east coast. Where I am witnessing first had a mild case of so called gangbanging. I was raised in Oceanside from 1989 to 1996, where I lived in Deep valley crip ran apartments, off of El camino real. I was to young to roll with the older guy they only allowed me to tag up the neighborhood. The sad part was that I looked up to these guys because they often took care of me, being that my mother was addicted to crack cocaine. Never did I see OPD reaching out to the youth but these crips did they often made sure my mother had food in the house and clothes for me to wear. The only time I seen OPD was when I witnessed a murder in broad daylight, on june 10th around 1995 at the age of 9. Did they offer me protection no, nor did they offer me counseling, but they wanted all of the information I had. but they didnt realize the killer crew came back to the seen and spotted the police trying to recieve a statement from me. So my family had to relocate me to VA for my safety. Thats in the past but to make a difference they may need to take individual like myself and relocate to a more positive community. But hey what did I know, I lived it grew from it, recieved a B.S. in Criminal Justice from Radford University and now I'm making the real difference in childrens lives the right way leading be example. and telling my story from the inside out, not from the outside looking in.

0

LILJD June 12, 2008 @ 3:02 p.m.

TO WHO EVER WROTE THIS U DID SOME WHAT OF AN OK JOB U JUST MADE IT LOOK AS IF THE SOMOANS AND S AY'S ARE RUNNING STUFF. U FOR GOT ALL THE PEOPLE THAT DIED AT THE BOTTOM ,MAINLY THE MEXICANS AND SOMOANS THE VALLEY CRIP GANG IS THE ONES WHO PUT THEM DOWN GET THE FACTS RIGHT WHEN U WRITE THINGS ABOUT A CITY I KNOW U AINT FROM CUZZ U WOULD KNOW WHO THE KILLERS ARE........GET IT RIGHT....V'SSSSSSSSS

0

LILJD June 12, 2008 @ 3:08 p.m.

REAL TALK U GOTTA BE FROM THE CITY CUZZ THATS WHAT I REMEMBER IM 31 AND I BEEN AROUND THE CITY SINCE I WAS 11 SO U ARE RIGHT ON THE MONEY ............MY HOME GIRL MICHELLE TATE RIP..........BUT DID U KNOW SHE WAS RELATED TO THE NIGGA THAT KILLED HER THAT WHY WE BEEN ON THEM BUSTER VALLEY SLOBS SINCE THAT DAY.............KEEP IT TREAL........

0

LILFUNKSTA Sept. 8, 2008 @ 3:19 p.m.

LILJD WHY U TRYIN TO DISRESPECT ON THE READER FOR U CRABS DONT KNOW NOTHING AND ITS DEEP VALLEY BLOODS THERE IS NO MORE DVcK IN THE VALLEY THERE IS ONLY 1 HOOD IN THE VALLEY NOW AND WE ALL KNOW........... BUT BACK TO THE STORY SHE WAS IN THE WRONG PLACE AT THE WRONG TIME NOW NO MORE DISRESPCTIN AND ALL U GUYS KNOW THE VALLEY IS HOME TO DA RYDAS AND TO DA FAMOUS ALRIGHT THEN SO DUBS AND DVB'S IN DA AIR .........REMEMBER ME BORN AND RAISED IN THE VALLEY

0

mizz_B Sept. 16, 2008 @ 8:33 a.m.

fumber.. you aint nobody tah talk if its so bad why dont you get tah steppin kes it be all bout dem deep valley bloods rollin 20s hommay fck cKraBs dey wna bang better be able tah handle dey shiet dats da ch0ice bangers make soohwoop

r.i.p Rusty seau free da homies !! keep y0 head up!

0

LILFUNKSTA Sept. 24, 2008 @ 3:37 p.m.

....AYE FUMBER U GOT ALOT A TALK BUT WHEN WE B AROUND U BE DA 1 HIDIN ALL UP UNDER THE BED HUH YEAH BUT ANYWAYZ WE VALLEEH RYADIN ALL DAY 20 SMAKKIN NAKKKAHS DATS RIGHT FREE ALL DA HOMIES AND MY BIGG USO BIGG FUNK ALRIGHT LUVED ONES IN DA AIR DO UR THANG MOMZ,SWIGG,PEARL, VALLEY UP

0

john3_17 Nov. 22, 2008 @ 11:47 p.m.

This verse says that Jesus didn't come to condemn the world but he came that the world through him might be saved.I am Praying for every hood and every gangsta past and present and my prayer is this. Lord would you by your love change the hearts of these men, women and in some cases boys n girls. Lord by your holy spirit let them know how much you love them.I pray for all da homies incarcerated and all those that are on death row. Lord your word says "you change the hearts of kings" would you change the hearts 1 gangsta, 1 gang and 1 block at a time. Its all about the void we all have in our hearts Lord. Would you pour your grace and mercy upon all the streets. I pray for repentance Lord forgive us all gangstas, doctors, political officials,athletes and who ever else Lord you know that is in need of love life because we all gansgtas in our hearts apart from you Lord. In Jesus name amen. Much Love to ya'll

0

grewupinthevalley July 16, 2009 @ 6:17 p.m.

man i know a bunch of dudes in the valley on everyside who has been all talk and not with the bussiness it seems to me that the ones banging on eachother migth just be lil kids who never got to see what gang bangind really is. guns big deal go toe to toe knuckel up your braging about some1 who killed a cop but you didnt do it

0

Gseven Sept. 18, 2011 @ 10:57 a.m.

Im a 42 years old and grew up in North County since my teens. I went to Vista High school and new Akeli “Junior” Kelly personally. I was never in a gang but was gang affiliated because I was a popper and a break dancer. Popping has always been part of the culture and therefore I knew them all. I had close friends that were from Deep Valley, Posole, South O, Tri-city, Vista and San Marcos. I used to call Akeli "Kelly Kelly" and he was a good popper. He could even wave his eye brows when popping. The Kelly I knew personally was good person one on one but looking back at In hindsight he was a teen with problems. He usually hung out by himself and I still remember him circling the school campus restlessly. It never occurred to me how deep his issues were but now that I look back the behavior was a tale tell tell sign that something was amiss. Allot of the OGs are gone, in prison or grew up and went the family life. Some times I go to the Lo Lo car shows and see some of the older dudes and it makes me feel good some of the homies are still making it. Love and education is what the youth need....the most vicious banger has the ability and the choice to make that change. Peace & prayer to all the fallin soldiers and innocent families who have lost love ones to gang brutality.

0

Kawika03 Nov. 29, 2013 @ 11:29 a.m.

I knew a lot of the kids who were killed. Rusty Seau and Jesse Watson were real good friends of mine. I sold a lot of things to different gangs back in the day and i was crazy when the bodies started to drop. I was stuck in the middle having friends on both sides and that's a big reason why I joined the military and got out of there. The hardest part was coming home from work and seeing Jesse's body laid out on the ground across the street from my apartment. Later to learn that one of his killers was a friend of mine. A lot more goes on in that area that isn't documented by the papers. Growing up in Hawai'i I wasn't used to the gang culture. When I moved to Oceanside in high school most of my friends were either black or Samoan. Being hispanic myself, a lot of the mexican bangers had a problem with me due to my affiliation. I doubt things in that area will ever change but we can all hope.

0

Sign in to comment

Join our
newsletter list

Enter to win $25 at Broken Yolk Cafe

Each newsletter subscription
means another chance to win!

Close