A month has passed since a gang-related shooting killed one Hall County teen and wounded three others, and all remains quiet on the gang front.
Fears that retaliatory violence would follow the death of 17-year-old Juan Gomez have not been bourne out so far, law enforcement officials say.
Gomez, a member of the La Onda street gang, was allegedly shot by a member of rivals SUR-13 outside a subdivision entrance off Gillsville Highway in East Hall.
In the days that followed the Aug. 9 shooting, Hall County deputies and Gainesville police stepped up patrols of known gang areas and bolstered officer presence at area high schools. The Gainesville-Hall Gang Task Force worked overtime to keep close tabs on gang activity.
A month later, most law enforcement activity is back to normal levels while one shooting victim remains hospitalized and three suspects sit in jail.
Officials said there have been no violent incidents involving gang members since the shooting and little gang activity overall.
“Very little, actually,” said Lt. Scott Ware, commander of the Gang Task Force. “We’ve been out on the streets hot and heavy to try to deter any retaliation, and I would like to think that’s had a significant impact. It could also be that people are realizing that this violence is senseless and nothing good can come out of it.”
In addition to the death of Gomez, known among friends as “Baby P-Nut,” two 18-year-olds are facing the prospect of mandatory life prison sentences if convicted of murder.
Suspected gunman Robert Jacob Montez and suspected driver Miguel Garcia, known on the street by their nicknames “Soldier” and “Smiley,” were indicted late last month in a 27-count indictment that included charges of murder, aggravated assault and violation of Georgia’s street gang terrorism act. A third suspect who was arrested on gang and aggravated assault charges, 17-year-old Jesus Rodriguez Martinez, has not been indicted. All three remain jailed without bond.
On Tuesday, Nagan Le, 16, remained in serious but stable condition at Northeast Georgia Medical Center for a gunshot wound to the abdomen that caused severe internal injuries, authorities said. Soon after the shooting, Le’s survival was in question.
The other two shooting victims, 16-year-olds Francisco Amaya and Pedro Salcedo, are out of the hospital and in good condition, authorities said.
Gainesville Police spokesman Lt. Brian Kelly and Hall Sheriff’s Col. Jeff Strickland both said there have been no significant incidents involving gang members since the shooting.
Kelly acknowledged there were worries that more violence would follow.
“There’s always that concern of retaliation between rival gang members,” he said.
Strickland said that while there have been no incidents in the month since the shooting, “the gang task force remains vigilant and our school resource officers are on high alert.”
Said Ware, “We continue to monitor (the gangs) and the areas they’ve been known to frequent.”