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Gang Prevention Team Mobilizes In San Jose After Drive-By Shooting

SAN JOSE (KCBS) – San Jose's homicide prevention team has been mobilized following the city's latest killing this week, the 27th so far this year.

Police said the drive-by-shooting on Monday, killing 21-year-old Victor Mendoza, was gang-related. So far in 2012, 10 of the 27 homicides have been related to gang violence.

KCBS' Mike Colgan Reports:

Mario Maciel, Director of the Mayor's Gang Prevention Task Force, said that the team is dispatched anytime a homicide is suspected of being gang-related.

"Anytime you've already had an incident, you're obviously not preventing it. So what we're trying to do is intervene in the retaliation," he said. "Anytime you have a homicide victim, you can guarantee that emotions are high, whether it's within his immediate family wanting immediate eye-for-an-eye type of vengeance or whether it's his gang set wanting immediate retaliation."

Maciel said the task force aims to prevent further crimes from happening before they even start.

"We pride ourselves on the fact that after a homicide, we identify what sets are involved and we intentionally engage," he said. "It's not like leaving your engine light on knowing there's a problem and then hoping it will disappear by itself."

Maciel said it's all about building ongoing relationships with the different gang sets prior to any incidents.

San Jose police have arrested an 18-year-old suspect in this latest gang killing, one of three homicides in San Jose on Monday.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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