Evansville’s growing gang problem takes center stage Friday, as two sides of a bloody back-and-forth agree to give peace a chance.
The news of an apparent truce is welcome to city leaders in the trenches trying to stop the violence.
Friday, leaders of two rival gangs in Evansville will meet face-to-face to solidify the agreement, exchanging bullets with handshakes.
Henrietta Jenkins, a community activist in the inner city, organized this 30 day ceasefire between Wagg Block and Savage Life. She says the gang leaders are tired of violence.
Now the question – will the truce hold up?
Neighbors living on South Governor near Waggoner Avenue, where the Wagg Block gang takes its name, have adapted to violence.
“This is the neighborhood we live in, even though this is the quietest corner I still feel like anything can happen no matter where you live,” says one man who didn’t want to be identified.
He has a concealed carry pistol for his protection, after living in the area for 16 years.
Evansville Police says Wagg Block and Savage Life are two of the most dangerous gangs on the River City’s streets today, and they have battled back and fourth for years.
“Last summer we had a shooting out there in broad daylight,” says the neighbor, “It makes it hard, kids can’t come outside to do anything.”
With the apparent peace offering, city leaders are hoping for the best but not ruling out the possibility of the worst.
“These are deep societal issues,” says Mayor Lloyd Winnecke, “they’re not issues that are easily remedied by a plan of the day or plan of the month.”
Police Chief Billy Bolin says he’s taking a wait-and-see approach to the truce, saying he is “optimistically hopeful” the two sides keep the peace.
Only time will tell if the truce is true, Bolin says, adding the “proof is in the pudding.”