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Victims and victimizers

Mar 09, 2009

"We as society do not allow people to be victim and victimizer --- they are one or the other," said Suzanne Neuhaus, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation victims' services specialist.

It was late at night when non-gang member David and his gang member friend were hanging out at a park close to his home in Los Angeles. David had left his house while his single mom was working at her second job. She would arrive by 2 a.m.

Minutes later, gang members got out of a car and started shooting. David's best friend died in his arms. David, who was 13 at the time, later told a prison chaplain he could not make out what his friend was trying to tell him at the moment of his death because there was so much blood coming out of his mouth, but he thinks he was asking him to tell his mom that he was sorry. A week after, David joined a gang.

Now, at age 16, David --- who had never been convicted of a felony --- is facing four life sentences for attempted murder, having participated in a shooting where a gang member was wounded in retaliation for the killing of David's friend. David was not the principal offender, he did not shoot anybody.

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