Friendship Court assault believed to be gang-related

Friends can sometimes turn against each other at the slightest provocation. A 15-year-old Albemarle County student learned this cruel truth the hard way while walking near Friendship Court late Friday, April 21.
The teen had run into a 16-year-old acquaintance from school and the two boys were walking towards the Downtown low-income housing project off Garrett Street when, according to police, a group of 12 to 15 teenage boys approached them. The 16-year-old knew the kids in the group, all of whom were wearing some form of red clothing: bandanas, t-shirts, hats. The kids, including the 16-year-old, then asked the 15-year-old whether he wanted to join their gang, the “Bloods.” When the 15-year-old refused, the group beat him so badly that the teen required a metal plate in his cheek.
In the wake of the incident, the 16-year-old has been arrested and faces charges of aggravated malicious wounding and being a member of a criminal street gang. A second victim, who suffered severe bruising and injuries to his mouth from a related assault that night, came forward on April 25, and more charges against the 16-year-old will result from the second victim’s assault. The Daily Progress reported on April 29 that police also arrested 19-year-old Otis Scott-Wilkins on similar charges relating to the assault.
Charlottesville Police Captain Chip Harding would not confirm whether the gang the teens were allegedly referring to was the Bloods, a gang founded in Compton, California, in 1972 to protect members from a rival gang, the Crips. Bloods members identify themselves by wearing red bandanas or beads. The gang has gone national and now has members in most major American cities, but Harding would not confirm that the Bloods have officially made it to Charlottesville.
“These could be wannabes or pretend-to-bes,” says Harding, “but anyway you cut it they are not doing good things at night.”—Nell Boeschenstein

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