Gangs in the Military Part Two

By: Thelma Gutierrez - CNN
By: Thelma Gutierrez - CNN

It's 2005 and Lance Corporal Andreas Reya is home in Ceres, Calif., back from Iraq. The 19-year-old marine, who police said has close ties with the Norteno Mexican gang but no criminal history, sets up a police ambush. No one knows why.

Wearing a poncho and carrying an automatic assault rifle, Reya calls 911 and lures police to a liquor store. Security cameras capture the rest.

"I was yelling orders at this fellow to show me your hands," said Sam Ryno, former police officer.

Ryno and his partner are the first on the scene. Reya spots the police officers and takes cover at the corner. Then using a military tactical technique called slicing the pie, Reya searches out his targets then begins firing.

"The next thing I remember is hearing the shot, and instantaneously getting hit in the lower left leg," Ryno said.

Reya continues firing, hitting Ryno four times.

"I could feel the bullets hitting on the pavement by me, so I know this guy is still trying to kill me," Ryno said.

That's when Officer John King arrives. A seven-year veteran of the army, King grabs his rifle and returns fire.
A marine on a rampage, Reya begins firing at a fourth officer. This time using a technique called suppression fire.

"He continued to fire the whole time keeping Howard pinned down behind a wall," King said.

Sgt. Howard Stevenson, 23-year veteran of the Ceres Police Department, didn't have a chance.

"He ran up on him and shot him at point blank range two times in the head with an automatic rifle," King said.

Reya is then cornered and killed in a fire fight with officers.

"In this case this guy was a (shakes his head) killer hiding in a USMC uniform," Ryno said.

The Defense Department declined an on camera interview for this story, but acknowledged to CNN it is concerned about gang activity.

The United States Army Criminal Investigation Command stated, "We do not deny there is some gang activity and gang association within the military, but we do not see it as a rampant issue."

"They will tell you straight to your face we don't have a problem with gangs in the milt.," said T.J. Leyden, former marine and former skinhead. "Wow amazing!"

Leyden now writes about extremists.

"You have racist graffiti (and) gang graffiti in Baghdad on military install. (You have) guys wearing gang clothes to clubs, but you don't have a problem with gang members in the military - quite interesting," Leyden said.

Miguel Robinson, a Los Angeles Crip who now brokers cease fires between warring gangs, said some gang members may change for the better in the military but warns that most will not.

"You can take the gang member out of the hood, but you can't take the hood out of the gang member. So when they come back and shed that uniform they're going to put the rags back up," Robinson said.

All this bring no comfort to Ryno, who was forced to retire because of his wounds. Ryno said a day doesn't go by that he doesn't think about the marine with street gang roots who took his friend's life and nearly ended his.

Thelma Gutierrez, CNN, Ceres, Calif.


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