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Gang violence drops off
Police get key suspects, weapons off streets
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Just a few months ago Manteca seemed to be on the verge of turning into a daily shooting gallery for gang-on-gang violence.

There were several high profile drive-by shootings on the Main Street corridor including one that ended with a customer in a convenience store caught in the line of fire suffering a gunshot wound and another where a woman returning a movie to a video store missed being hit with stray bullets. There was also the murder of 19-year-old Derrik Gann whose suspected killer is believed by police to have had gang motivations for the crime.

Today, gang-related violence has dropped off significantly in Manteca.

“Our officers have worked very hard and diligently to get some suspects who are key gang members arrested and doff the streets,” noted Manteca Police Chief Dave Bricker.

Bricker said “those bad guys were responsible for the bulk of the violence.” The arrests also took a number of weapons including guns off the streets. He lauded his officers who have focused a lot of time and effort into building cases against the more violent gang members.

“There is a misnomer out there that we don’t have any officers dedicated to fighting gangs,” Bricker said. “The gang unit was dissolved (along with a narcotics unit) and combined into a street crimes unit.”

Bricker said the four officers in the streets crime unit along with patrol have been making a concerted effort to build cases against gang members involved in the violent acts.

“The graveyard shift guys are out there every night busting gang members,” Bricker said.

Bricker said many of the arrests were made with information from cooperative citizens. Without them, Bricker said it would be tough as most gang members involved in crimes as victims won’t cooperate with police.

He added that Manteca officers are well aware of who gang members are but they have to build a case against them to get convictions that will get them off the streets for a long period of time. To do that within the framework on the law requires time, Bricker said.

“There are still gang members that are bad guys out there,” Bricker cautioned. “It is just that we got the ones responsible for most of the shootings off the streets.”

Bricker noted gang violence tends to be cyclical and also seem to spike in warmer weather.