Tulsa homicide detectives say they are working a string of recent shootings that they believe were done by a new gang called the G-Unit.
News on 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright says G-Unit is a gang patterned after gangster rapper 50-Cent[pictured].
50-Cent is a self-proclaimed street thug who has been shot nine times. He has a group called G-Unit and his songs are about guns, shootings and murders. Tulsa Police say the teenagers going by G-Unit in Tulsa are emulating this rapper and the end result is violence.
Tulsa Police say G-Unit has been associated with a half dozen recent shootings. Tulsa Police Sergeant Van Ellis heads the gangs unit and says his officers first heard of G-Unit surfacing in Tulsa about 18 months ago. They don't know how many members there are, but, they do know more crimes are connected to them. "There have been some minor and more violent crimes, assaults, disturbances around school and community events and at schools and just bad behavior."
G-Unit is the name of group connected to rapper 50-cents. They wear shirts and hats with the name and have pictures made with guns, drugs and piles of cash. Their songs talk about a life that's hard and violent. One song is called G-Unit and talks about holding a cannon and demanding your life, putting the pipes to your melon and brain's on the pavement, ain't nobody gonna speak when homicide pay a visit, look you right in the eye and tell you we don't know who did it. [Words from the song]"I don't think music causes anybody to do anything, and people are certainly free to listen to what they want, but if you're looking for trouble, this is not the pattern of a lifestyle you want to lead."
The gangs unit is tracking about 3,700 people in its database. They say nearly 1,300 of those are certified gang members. That's 175 different gangs of all sizes and races, black, white, Asian, Indian and Hispanic. Less than 2% of those gang members are girls. All of them are involved in a life of crime, from petty theft to selling drugs to murder.
Police say Tulsa County has gang members who range in age from middle school to mid-20's. They say Tulsa's gang population remains pretty steady and the gang problem is better here than other surrounding cities like Little Rock.
Even though it might seem like gang violence is getting worse, police say it actually comes and goes in cycles, depending on the feuds and who's getting released from prison.