Madison West High gang incident raises specter of retaliation

Sandy Cullen:

An armed altercation Friday outside West High School involving known and suspected members of two street gangs involved in an April homicide heightened concerns of possible retaliation, police and school officials said Tuesday.
Sgt. Amy Schwartz, who leads the Madison Police Department’s Crime Prevention Gang Unit, said it is not known if members of the South Side Carnales gang went to the high school looking for members of the rival Clanton 14, or C-14 gang.
But staff at West and the city’s three other main high schools and two middle schools were told Tuesday to determine if safety plans are needed for any students who might be at risk, said Luis Yudice, security coordinator for the Madison School District.
Police have not notified the School District of a specific threat against any student, Yudice said.
But authorities have been concerned about possible retaliation since the April 28 shooting death of Antonio Perez, 19, who police say founded Madison’s C-14 gang several years ago while he was a high school student. Five people, who police say are associated with the South Side Carnales and MS-13 gangs, are charged in Perez’s slaying. Two of them remain at large.

Related: Gangs & School Violence Forum audio / video.
A kind reader noted this quote from the article:

“But authorities have been concerned about possible retaliation since the April 28 shooting death of Antonio Perez, 19, who police say founded Madison’s C-14 gang several years ago while he was a high school student.”

Much more here.

  • Anonymous

    My favorite quote from the article: “We’re not responding with any great sense of alarm,” Yudice said.
    How true, how true.

  • Before you can find a solution, first you have to recognize that there is a problem!!!

    Aahh, how nice to have such a sense of calm, Mr. Yudice. Too bad the teachers and students can’t feel the same way.
    Perhaps this is why MMSD’s Head of Security, Luis Yudice has his children attend private schools instead of MMSD schools.

  • Larry Winkler

    It’s usually a good sign that those involved with security are not panicking. And, it’s quite unjustified to suggest because Yudice is not reacting with alarm he or MMSD is not handling the situation appropriately. You might want to review the gang task force document which Yudice co-authored at http://www.danecountyhumanservices.org/pdf/gang_task_force_report.pdf before suggesting otherwise.
    There is also a newly formed gang task force within the Madison Police Department, with whom MMSD and Yudice are working closely. Nothing is guaranteed but panic is not the answer.

  • Millie

    My favorite quote has to do with the fact that the schools are being asked to look at individual students who may need a “safety plan” because they are verified or suspected gang members. Well, how about a safety plan for MY children, who are not gang members, but innocent bystanders? If these suspected or actual gang members are putting the other 95% of students at risk because of their affiliations (which they are – bystanders get hit by cars, shot, injured by errant punches, etc), then why are THEY the ones who need individual safety plans? They know they are putting themselves at risk, and they are choosing to do it, by their affiliations. The kids hanging with their friends on a break, or making plans after school, are the ones most at risk, because they don’t even KNOW they are surrounded by dangerous people (or targets) at a given moment.
    “No great sense of alarm”, my left cheek. Maybe there had better be? Not panic, by all means. But I also don’t understand why this gang task force is “newly formed”; we have had major gang problems for 5-6 years, that no one was willing to take seriously. Only now that it is bleeding directly into the schools with violence (not just drugs and threats), and affecting employers because of actions against employees on company property.

  • Larry Winkler

    I can hardly believe it, but it is going on eight years since my daughter began as a West freshman. Were there gang issues then? — most certainly. There were also serious incidents of non-gang related assaults, such as involving hormonally-challenged teens (girls attacking another girl who was suspected of having an interest in a particular boy, for example), and some fights (or punches thrown) in some locker areas.
    There is no bleeding into the schools. Fights and altercations have always been part of all schools all the time. My father was involved in some (small farm town), my mother was involved (big school Brooklyn), and I was (didn’t like be called “Jew-boy”). So did by sister. All kids were told to stand up for ourselves, were expected to, and did. We also stood up for others. We were supposed to do that also.
    Incidents need to be handled by the adults appropriately, and more involvement is necessary especially if repeated incidents are getting out of hand. It is the reasonable potential for increasing problems that needs to be addressed. Armed confrontations are clearly a very big issue, however.
    But alarm? Still, no. Go after the bad actors and get them off the street. That is what is being done.