State lawmakers pass increased penalties for gang-related crimes

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The subcommittee met Monday. It was passed unanimously (WTVD)

On the one-year anniversary of a North Carolina father being shot and paralyzed by suspects police say are gang members, a state legislature subcommittee has approved a bill increasing penalties for gang-related crimes.

The bill was passed out of the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Justice and Public Safety's Gang Laws Subcommittee. The main thrust of the proposed legislation is to bump up the level of any crime committed by gang members.

The subcommittee passed the proposed legislation on a unanimous vote after one technical amendment. The proposal will now go to the full committee which supporters hope will eventually be voted into law by the full legislature during the 2017 session.

The subcommittee heard months of testimony including the shooting at a Cabarrus County rest stop on I-85 on November 28, 2015. Greg McKee, 43, was shot by two men as he tried to flee the men's room at the rest area.

Read more about the shooting here

He was paralyzed by the shot. Police later arrested two men they say are gang members.

Also testifying before the subcommittee was former Wake County prosecutor Colleen Janssen. Her father Frank Janssen was kidnapped from his Wake Forest home and taken to Atlanta where he was later rescued by the FBI.

Kelvin Melton, a high-ranking leader in the Bloods gang, was convicted of orchestrating the crime from behind prison walls using contraband cell phones. Federal authorities say he pulled off the crime in retaliation after Colleen Janssen sent him to prison for life over a gang-related shooting in Raleigh.

Read more: Gang leader behind kidnapping of Wake County prosecutor's father gets life in prison

Kelvin Melton


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