03/17/2006

Va. gang members videotape themselves attacking others

By KRISTEN GELINEAU
Associated Press Writer

RICHMOND, Va.- Members of a neighborhood gang videotaped themselves beating people with a trash can, slamming a man with a bicycle and robbing others at gunpoint, police said Thursday.

Six juveniles and two men, ages 18 and 19, have been arrested, and police have identified three more suspects in the Newport News attacks.

Because of the poor quality of the video, police were still trying to determine exactly how many people were victimized, but there appeared to be six to 12 attacks on the tape, Newport News police spokesman Lou Thurston said.

Portions of the video, provided to The Associated Press by the Newport News police, show a group of attackers kicking a man lying on the ground. One assailant lifts a bicycle above his head and slams it down on the victim.

"When you sit there and watch the whole tape, it just incenses you," Thurston said. "It makes you so angry that good people can't walk down the street in their neighborhood without the fear of being jumped by a bunch of thugs."

Police do not know what motivated the attacks or what prompted the assailants to videotape themselves, Thurston said.

Investigators are now looking at 37 attacks reported since January in Newport News, a shipbuilding city about 80 miles from Richmond. The attacks are similar to those on the tape, and police want to know whether the same assailants were responsible, Thurston said.

Police learned of the videotape through another investigation and found it in a home last month, Thurston said, declining to provide details.

Thurston said it appeared that most of the attacks on the video were never reported to police, perhaps because the victims were afraid to come forward.

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