Quincy Lamar Alexander, 22, of Burke, was charged Jan. 28 with recruiting Lake Braddock High School students into a gang.
"Gang activity, gang violence, gang participation is not just a school problem, it's a community problem that stretches across this country, to every demographic," said Fred Ellis, director of the Office of Safety and Security with Fairfax County Public Schools.
The community needs to examine what attracts youth into gangs, Ellis said, in a press conference at the Massey Building in Fairfax last Thursday, Feb. 5.
"I'm not sure as a culture we have come to terms with that," he said. "[Gangs] are certainly not going to go away any time in the near future."
"If you see an individual flirting with gang activity, something has to be done," said P.D. O'Keefe, information specialist, Safe and Drug-Free Schools.
"Parents need to know who their kids hang with," he said. "Parents are the cornerstone; we are their assistants in this effort."
FIFTY police officers work as school resource officers in Fairfax County high schools and middle schools — at least one in almost every high school — and an additional eight serve elementary schools in the county, according to Lt. Col. Charles Peters, deputy chief for patrol with Fairfax County Police Department.
"We need to all work together," Peters said. "Gang recruitment is not easily caught or prosecuted."
Alexander, of Bonnie Bern Court in Burke, was first arrested on Oct. 31, 2003 for possession of a firearm on school property after a security officer at Lake Braddock High School found him with a suspended 15-year-old student.
Recruiting did not take place on school property, according to Peters.
Alexander was charged with brandishing a firearm and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon after investigators uncovered a prior sexual assault conviction in California.
ALEXANDER'S GANG is a "relatively small gang, not well known," Peters said, referring to Alexander as the "kingpin."
"This may take a lot of wind out of his sails."
According to Fairfax Circuit Court documents, Alexander said he was the leader of the gang, which originally is from Los Angeles.
"In California, this gang, which boasts approximately 600 members, is a well-known and established criminal street gang responsible for all manners of crime to include, but not limited to, murder, rape, robbery, car jacking, hijacking of vehicles, drug trafficking, assaults and vehicle theft," according to the documents.
The gang has been criminally charged in this area with numerous cases of destruction of property, vehicle theft and weapons violations, according to court documents.
Alexander told police he was initiated into the gang in St. Louis, one of the cities where the gang established its roots. Alexander moved to Fairfax County one year ago, and police say "there is reason to believe he was in the process of establishing" a set of the gang here.
Police requested that the gang not be named while the investigation continues.
Alexander is currently free on bond.
POLICE HAVE IDENTIFIED more than 80 gangs in Fairfax County, according to Capt. Deborah Burnett, commander, youth services division. Approximately 1,500 people in Fairfax are involved in gang activity, she said.
The 10th Congressional District Gang Task Force began operating in July 2003 to address violent gang activity in Northern Virginia.
"In the first six months of operation, the work of the multi-jurisdictional Gang Task Force has resulted in 65 felony arrests and 137 misdemeanor arrests. Additionally, Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement has detained 47 individuals on immigration violations," according to police.
The task force has seized 46 weapons, 208 grams of cocaine, 31 grams of heroin and 20 grams of marijuana in the last six months.