Damn this guy is handsome…that’s crazy!
That’s how I looked once-upon-a-time and this is how I look now. This is good. I wish I could go back to this one right here, straight up. I have a lot of regrets with this one, all trouble now, police, getting harassed and that, but it is what it is. I have my reasons why I did all this. Oh man, the first tattoo, I was like 12 years old, on my fingers. I got the tagging crew that I was part of, L.C.M. Crazy Mexican family, my mom chased my ass out the house, no doubt. She saw my fingers with tattoos at the age of 12 years old, what do you expect?
But yeah, ever since, it’s like a drug, tattoos are addictive, I like it. I like the pain, I like the artwork, and as time went by I got into my neighborhood. At age 12 my homeboys who did tattoos were tattooing me up, here and there. Then I finally hit the big house, prison, and I went all out in there, certain areas. I got a good amount of time and I thought I was never going to come home. I thought, “Hell, why not? Fuck it!” Tattooed on my face, head, neck, everything.
I had a cool childhood until I started hanging around with the wrong crowd in the neighborhood, and the bad friends I chose to be around. Then we moved to West LA, to Eagle Rock. Spent half of my life in Eagle Rock, and nowhere in Chinatown. I always looked up to my older brother Joseph, but then just started catching game off other people, started going the wrong way. My mother tried to stop me from being in the gangs, but at that time it was too late. My brother was in the gangs, trying to be slick and low-key about it, but I paid attention, always trying to catch on, be nosy, trying to find out what he is up to, trying to follow in his footsteps. The federal indictment of Highland Park took everyone in 2006. They swept up the whole neighborhood. Mom, grandma, whoever is part of the neighborhood, they took them in. Any connections, any part of whatever gang activities were going on, they are going in.
It made me sad to see everyone was gone. I was in juvenile hall at the time. When I got out from beating my double homicide, it was June 2006. April 2006 is the month they took out my whole neighborhood. It was basically empty. When I came home I was like, “Damn, where is everyone?” Now that I am getting older and I think of everything, now that I have a daughter (I have a five-year-old), I trip out. Like, “Damn, I’m not just a kid no more.” I can’t be selfish no more, just thinking about me, I got to think about my kid, you know? I have to be there for her, slow my roll.
It is not hard to let everything go, but it’s not easy at the same time, because that’s all I know, that’s all I am used to.
Ever since I started hanging with the gangs most of my family members look down on me. They have grudges that they hold against me and talk all their crap, so I separate myself from them. All I had as my family is my neighborhood, that’s all I got. How could I just let them all go like nothing and just give up? All the effort I have put into it, and all that I have done for the neighborhood, and it’s just like, “That’s it. Move on.” Pretty easy it sounds like, but sometimes it is hard. Like I feel like I am not ready. Sometimes I feel confused and I think about it, like do I really want to end up dead over a street that is never going to be mine? I’m trying to separate myself from certain individuals, keep my distance from certain areas. Like I was in Highland Park, I try not to go there, stay separated. But, like I said, that’s another thing that is addictive: my neighborhood. I crave it, I want to go hang out, kick it, drink with the fellas.
I was sentenced to 15 years for an assault with a deadly weapon. That was in 2010/11. So I thought I was going to get caught up and catch more time. I thought like, “Fuck, I have two strikes. One more strike, that’s it. I am not going to make it. I’m not going to come back home.” Fifteen years, anything can happen, a riot can happen, anything.
So, that’s how I looked at it. I just gave up on everything. Blocked everything from outside and just thought about myself in jail, trying to survive in there.
[When I got completely tattooed] it hurt a lot of people, like my mom number one, my grandmother number two, my other grandmother that passed away earlier this year—I hurt them most of all.
And now when you do come home, it’s like you’re an open target. Everyone knows who you are now, they don’t have to bang on you, no one has to say nothing, they are just going to shoot at you. For the rest of the interview to be found in the book.