At this point, police say it’s hard to say if there are more gang members or if they’re just more aware and cracking down on the problem. Either way, it is a problem that police say will take a community to tackle.
18-year-old Anthony Hernandez is the latest victim in gang violence in West Valley City.
“He was going to go across the street and this car drove up and said words to him...gang things,” said the Hernandez’s mother Linda Avila.
“Gang things” that cost Hernandez his life. Now six people face charges.
“For whatever reason, they just get into this mindset that they can do whatever they want that they're kind of protective by that,” said West Valley City Police Sgt. Jason Hauer.
While Sgt. Jason Hauer doesn’t think there’s a growing gang epidemic, he says there is a persistent problem. And it’s a problem for everyone.
“Really gangs are a community problem and it’s something we all have to combat,” said Hauer.
These six people now sit behind bars because witnesses late Saturday night told police what happened, what cars they were driving, and who they thought did it.
The gangs are attacking our young people. The victim and those arrested range from 18 to 27 years old. And now, a mother grieves.
“He was lying on the ground and I just told him to hold on hold on,” said Avila.
Hernandez later died at the hospital. Along with the Streets Task Force, headed by the FBI, West Valley City Police depend on neighborhood watch programs.