3 police chiefs team up to battle gang war


"In just the past four weeks, the Bellhaven area of Menlo Park has been plagued with four separate shootings," said Menlo Park Police Chief Lee Violett.

The cities of Menlo Park, East Palo Alto and Palo Alto are teaming up to stop a gang war on their streets.

A bloody shootout in Menlo Park on Nov. 2nd, that left four men badly wounded, convinced the police chiefs to form a task force called SMART -- an acronym for "Strategic Multi-Agency Response Team".

"Miraculously, no innocent bystanders have been struck by the bullets," said Violett.

Almost two weeks ago, a 42-year-old man was murdered on the same street. Police have linked a dozen shootings to a war between two rival street gangs -- the "Taliban" from Menlo Park and the "Da Vill" from East Palo Alto.

On Tuesday morning, a shooting forced the lockdown of two schools including Cesar Chavez Elementary in East Palo Alto. Police say a 19-year-old man was shot.

This was the first time the police departments ignored the boundaries of the crime and began working together, pooling their resources to solve the case.

"And send a very clear message to the gangs that there is really not a certain place they can go so they can't bounce from city to city and think it's going to change the outcome. They're likely to see a response from the three of us, no matter which city they're committing violence in," said East Palo Alto Police Chief Ron David.

The SMART task force will be stepping up foot and bike patrols and meeting with gang members, but it says it'll take a lot of help from the community.

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