Apopka police tackle growing gang problem



APOPKA, Fla. - Apopka police believe three gangs are responsible for recent violence in the city.

Last month, police identified a group called the Swisher Boys that's allegedly involved in a shooting on the south end of the city.

A fight at the same intersection has police working to identify more members of two other groups, and the turf has grown increasingly violent.

The alleged gangs are made up of children as young as 14 and people in the neighborhoods said tension has been building all summer.

WFTV found rap videos online that were made in south Apopka, with teens and young men waving guns in front of a camera.

Devon Harvey and another teenager who was too young for a mugshot, are accused of pulling knives on each other last weekend.

According to the arrest report, it happened when Harvey walked down the wrong block.

“The other group we’re told about is ‘Money Gang’ or 51/50,” said Capt. Matthew Gibbs with the Apopka Police Department.

Police have identified about 20 teenagers involved in the gang feud so far.

On Wednesday, Gibbs and other Apopka officers worked an apparent assault by a third group called Certified.

One member allegedly pulled a gun on people at a home in broad daylight.

“My biggest fear is we lose a child,” Gibbs said.

Police are working with church leaders to set up a community meeting to bring all three groups together, in hopes of preventing the first gang war the city has seen in more than 20 years.

“They need to come together and figure out a type of solution," said one resident, who did not want to be named.

Police said the last time the city had a problem like this was back in the early 1990s.

A group called the BC Boys was accused of drug dealing, robberies and a car bombing.

The group was dismantled with help of a large community meeting, like the one police are planning.