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Willie Lloyd was the leader of one of Chicago's street gangs, The Almighty Vice Lord Nation. He changed his focus in 2002, working for anti-gang peace efforts.
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Williams secured his brother's release, but then sent his soldiers to shoot up a vehicle filled with Lloyd's relatives—including his infant son. A gang war ensued.
Law enforcement apprehended Lloyd's group before they could retaliate, but the conflict was far from over. A few months later, Williams' splinter gang murdered Lloyd's right-hand man in a drive-by shooting. In a separate incident, Williams' soldiers also executed two of Lloyd's teenaged drug dealers. They then followed Lloyd home from a court appearance and shot him, as well as his three passengers. No one was fatally injured, but all suffered gunshot wounds.
Lloyd attempted to hide from his attackers, but he was forced to appear in court for the abduction and ransom of Williams' brother. He was acquitted for the abduction after the judge declared the witnesses testifying against Lloyd as unreliable. But Williams, along with several members of his faction, were charged with the murders of Lloyd's associates, and for the highway assault on Lloyd's family members.
In 1994, shortly after Williams' conviction, Chicago law enforcement received a tip that Lloyd was carrying an illegal weapon. Police raided Lloyd's house, finding a 9 mm handgun, which Lloyd contended was planted. Regardless of how the weapon came into his possession, police finally had cause to arrest Lloyd. He was sentenced to eight years in a 24-hour lockdown facility. A month later, a massive bust by law enforcement captured more than 100 of Lloyd's Vice Lord associates, shutting down the Unknown Vice Lord gang.
After his release from federal prison in 2002, Lloyd decided to retire from his life of crime and attempt to earn a legitimate living as a mediator for gang members. He began collaborating with Chicago's School of Public Health, where he worked with the Chicago Project for Violence. He also involved himself with CeaseFire, a program that provides gang mediation efforts, and mentoring at a Westside church.
In addition, Lloyd agreed to lecture incoming freshmen in DePaul University's Discover Chicago program on the dangers of gang life. He took sociology students on a field trip to give them an inside look at gangs in their "natural habitat," and discussed the pathology of crime. When parents learned of the arrangement, however, angry phone calls to school administrators shut the program down.
But Lloyd's attempts to promote peace didn't resonate with his former enemies. In August 2003, Lloyd was shot six times while walking his dogs in Garfield Park in Chicago. Lloyd survived the attack, but was paralyzed from the neck down. In the aftermath of the attack, Lloyd continued to advocate peace. He currently remains a spokesman for anti-violence organizations and anti-gang efforts.
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More than 30,000 gangs plague American streets, wreaking havoc from Los Angeles to New York. This violent subculture floods cities with drug traffic, extortion, and even weapons trading. But some members stand apart from others for their fearless attitudes and business savvy. From Leroy "Nicky" Barnes, one of Harlem's biggest drug king pins, to Kody "Monster" Scott, a member of L.A.'s Crips gang by the age of 13, these notorious gangsters have become legendary for rising to the top of their organizations by pushing the limits, no matter the cost.
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