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Ormond Beach Observer Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014 5 years ago

Gang violence in Ormond Beach?

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Though the recent act of gang violence in Ormond Beach is not common to the area, it doesn't mean it hasn't happened before. 

BY EMILY BLACKWOOD | STAFF WRITER

Perhaps the traditional image of a gang member isn't a person you'd think you'd find in Ormond Beach. Usually, it's someone with some sort of gang markers or identifiers and, in mainstream media, they're portrayed to live in populated cities, such as New York City or Chicago.

But gang violence can happen anywhere.

Recently, a 17-year-old Port Orange boy was kidnapped and taken to a home in the 500 block of Collins Street, in Ormond Beach, where he was beaten until he passed out for not joining a gang. Police found him with missing teeth, in his underwear, out about five miles away in Cypress Circle.

The two men and one teen responsible for the beating were arrested and charged. Lloyd Cornelius, crime prevention officer for the Ormond Beach Police, said this was the first incident of gang violence he had seen in his career here, but that doesn't mean it hasn't happened before.

"We don't have a history of gang violence here," Cornelius said. "But there could have been other gang violence that was just not labeled as gang violence. No area of the country is without a gang member. I can say that with 100% certainty."

Cornelius said gang members are not always as easily identifiable and that many try to lay low by migrating to other areas.

"People think, 'How could it happen in Ormond Beach?'" Cornelius said. "When people lead gangs and they get in trouble and move to another area, they are still in the gang lifestyle, so they recruit other people. They offer a family-type of environment that people may not get from their actual family."

Cornelius said gangs are sometimes started but eventually split once they start getting police attention. Other times, though, members get caught up in the lifestyle and never stop, he added.

If you have any information on gangs or gang violence, contact the Ormond Beach Police department, at 248-1777.

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