Valdosta Police work to prevent gang violence - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Valdosta Police work to prevent gang violence

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VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) -

An accused Valdosta gang leader wanted for murder is still on the run. He's accused of shooting a man police say has ties to a rival gang.

Police say Antoni "snapper" Tippins is a Crips gang leader in Valdosta. He's wanted for the Tuesday night shooting death of Jarid Little outside Gordon Food Mart. Valdosta Police say Little also has ties to the Bloods gang.

With the prevalence of gangs in Valdosta on full display Chief Brian Childress says they're constantly monitoring their activity. "When we first became aware of Snapper, we knew exactly who he was, where he lived at, and where to go and try to find him, and that's a credit to our gang task force."

Two Valdosta detectives whose sole job is to investigate gang activity have had major success in south Georgia.

"They're constantly in churches, they're constantly in schools, and there's a presence by these two detectives and some of our other officers," said Childress.

Childress says they've managed to get some local gang members out of their gangs. And it's progress like that, that puts Valdosta ahead of other cities. "The difference between us and a lot of jurisdictions is we know exactly who most of them are."

But it also takes a lot of education. Officer Vernotis Williams works in the schools trying to steer kids out of trouble. "They can end up in jail or loose their life, so we try to tell them why they shouldn't," said Williams.

He says of the 200 students he's worked with, not one of them has fallen into a violent lifestyle. He says mentoring kids while they're young will stick as adults.

Chief Childress says his investigators have been successful in quickly arresting suspects following previous acts of gang violence.

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