The Gangfighters Network is an organization designed to bridge the gap between academia and the criminal justice professions. For more information, visit and The focus is on gangs, initially adult gangs as it appears they have been ignored or absorbed into the mainstream society. There's a special focus on gang members in the military.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Weekend Shooting Is Military And Gang Related, Police Say

Derek Shore-KFOX News Reporter

Posted: 8:30 pm MDT September 1, 2009Updated: 9:23 pm MDT September 1, 2009
EL PASO, Texas -- After a Fort Bliss soldier was shot early Sunday morning near the popular Cincinnati area in West El Paso, police reveal the man accused of pulling the trigger is also a Fort Bliss soldier. Police are calling the shooting gang-related.

Spc. Frank Calderon was shot after an altercation at 32 Degrees bar on Mesa Street. Antonio Saunders, also a soldier, has been charged with shooting him. Sources tell KFOX that Saunders is also a member of the Bloods street gang.

With the future growth of Fort Bliss, there is fear police may have to deal with an increase in soldiers who are also gang members.

"Over the last couple of years, we've seen more of a problem than we have seen in past years," said Sgt. Reggie Moton, the head of the El Paso police gang task force.

But Moton claims soldiers in gangs are not any more or less dangerous.

"Over the last couple years, when we go out and we deal with the military people on the different cases that have come up, it's no different than what we deal with with other gang members," Moton said.

However, The National Gang Intelligence Center disagrees. In their 2009 gang assessment, the center said:

"Gang members with military training pose a unique threat to law enforcement personnel because of the distinctive military skills that they possess and their willingness to teach these skills to fellow gang members."

While the number of military members in gangs isn’t known, the assessment said the center has confirmed 19 gangs have military trained members in them. The gangs include the Bloods, Crips and Latin Kings.

This isn’t the only organized crime that has been linked back to an El Paso soldier. Pfc. Michael Apodaca, a Fort Bliss soldier, is accused of drug cartel activity after he allegedly shot an ICE informant back in May.

Moton said he will work to stop any growing trends and do so with Fort Bliss’ help.

"As a matter, of fact they were involved in the case this past weekend. They came out and provided us help in this case," Moton said.


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