- Associated Press - Sunday, September 20, 2015

PUEBLO, Colo. (AP) - More than 150 people took part Saturday in an anti-gang march following raids by federal, state and local authorities focusing on gang-related crime that netted 47 arrests and four stolen vehicles.

Leading the procession was East Side community activist Floyd Jaramillo and members of the families of Isaiah Vialpando and Ricky Muniz, both victims of recent shootings.

“We want to let these little gangsters know that we won’t stand for this type of violence anymore. This family won’t stop until justice is served for my nephew,” said Daniel Vialpando, one of the marchers.

“I don’t want my cousin’s death to be in vain,” said Randi Gonzales in reference to Muniz. “I want something positive to come of this. It’s getting bad when innocent victims are killed and the families are left to suffer.”

Police Chief Luis Velez said police arrested nine suspects in connection with gang shootings in the first half of this year. Police formed a partnership with federal authorities, giving them access to more resources, including technical and forensic assistance.

District Attorney Jeff Chostner and U.S. Attorney John Walsh issued a statement saying keeping the streets safe in the community is a combined effort by community leaders, schools, faith-based organizations, parents, civic groups and others.

They said raids last month involving more than 80 officers, agents, analysts and support staff were focused on contacting, identifying and arresting criminal street gang members.

“This operation demonstrated the will of law enforcement to work together at all levels and, most importantly, with the community to focus on gangs and to remove this dangerous criminal element from the streets of Pueblo,” they said in a letter.

Deputy Police Chief Troy Davenport, one of the several law enforcement marchers on Saturday, said police need the community’s help, the Pueblo Chieftain reported (https://tinyurl.com/q3vzpld).

“This is an event to unify the community and that’s why we’re here,” he said.

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Information from: The Pueblo Chieftain, https://www.chieftain.com

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