Gangs of Eugene: 'I've been shot. I've been stabbed'

Gangs of Eugene: 'I've been shot. I've been stabbed' »Play Video
"Two Pack" spoke to KVAL News on condition of anonymity. Police facilitated the interview and confirmed the man's past involvement in criminal street gangs in Eugene. KVAL News does not know the man's real identity or present whereabouts.

EUGENE, Ore. - His family moved to Eugene looking for a better life.

But "Two Pack," age 16, found himself attracted by something else: the gangster lifestyle.

"Smoke, drink, try to get girls," he said.

The lifestyle led him to a life of crime.

"We would beat people, we would steal," he said. "We'd shoot people."

Now 23, Two Pack is living with scars of the streets.

"I've been shot," he said. "I've been stabbed like 5, 6 times."
          
Two Pack said revealing his identity would put his life in danger. The Eugene Police Department helped facilitate the interview and verified the man's past involvement with gangs in Eugene. KVAL News does not know the man's real identity or current whereabouts.


Gang initiation: The 'jump in'

To join a gang, Two Pack and the other 1,000 confirmed criminal street gang members in Eugene-Springfield undergo an initiation called a "jump in."

Police have surveillance footage of an actual jump in, caught on camera at a public park in Eugene.

It's a violent beating, a 5-on-1 fight for 1 minute and 8 seconds.

Survive that and you're in the gang - in this case, the Bloods - living by the dangerous mantra that "even when you're wrong, you're right."

"You can swing on an innocent bystander," Two Pack said, "and you'll still be backed by your boys."

It's an oath of loyalty Two Pack took to all Blood members to drop anything when asked to fight.

"We went to Portland, rode on a rival gang set and, you know, shot it out," he said. "I was just sitting in the car thinking, jeez, what the (expletive) did I just do?"
 

Two ways out: A beating - or death

Two Pack said fighting never got old - until he landed in prison.

Once back on the streets, he wanted out of the gang lifestyle.

He said there are only two ways out.

"Death and 'jump out,'" he said. "No one wants to be beat up by 10 people beating up on them to get out, and no one wants to be shot."

Two Pack chose a third route: He left town.

"Staying here would be suicide," he told KVAL News, hours if not minutes before he skipped town.

Now he is free of the gang but held hostage by sleepless nights, haunted by faces and names and years of his life wasted as a gangster.

"It doesn't do anything but give pain," he said. "I put in so long and I got nothing out of it, years of my life that I can't get back."