McCrory speaks about gangs, Carson's murder

March 10, 2008 2:15:38 PM PDT
North Carolina's top Republican gubernatorial candidate is sounding off about the Eve Carson case.

Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, says he believes what happened to Carson could be gang related ?highlighting the spread of gang violence.

McCrory was on UNC Chapel Hill's campus Monday for a meeting, but took time out to reflect on the case.

He says Chapel Hill is dealing with the same gang problem plaguing larger cities like Charlotte.

He believes the manner in which Carson was killed could indicate gang activity.

"It's a tragic, tragic wakeup call that there is a serious criminal justice problem in the state of North Carolina and there's a gang problem possibly - even in this case," McCrory said.

As mayor of Charlotte, McCrory says he sees gang initiations often. He even noted the Astros hat worn by the suspect pictured in the surveillance image released by police.

"From what I'm reading in the newspaper, there's possible symbolism in the type of cap that the picture of the individual taken."

Police have not confirmed whether it is gang related. But McCrory says there are signs around Chapel Hill that gangs are growing.

It is why he wants the state to pass the Street Gang Prevention Act. Among other things, the law would create a statewide street gang data base, pay for gang prevention programs and make it easier to prosecute gang leaders.

"You have to turn this tragedy into a positive," McCrory said. "Respond and fix the criminal justice system and also trying to help these young kids who are being recruited into this terrible, terrible violent activity."

Mayors across the state have been trying to get the act passed. However, the act has been immovable in a state senate committee for three years.

Critics say harsher jail time would create hardened criminals and cost tax payers more and would require more jail space.


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