Gang intervention worker Mark Collins is charged with several crimes, including threatening his girlfriend with a stolen, loaded gun. Damian Trujillo reports. (Published Thursday, Jun 27, 2013)
He’s supposed to be part of the solution. Now, San Jose police officers say, Mark Collins is part of the problem.
Officers arrested the 20-year-old gang intervention worker last weekend. He was arraigned on Wednesday.
Collins is charged with several crimes, including threatening his girlfriend with a stolen, loaded gun.
“It does enrage me,” said Mario Maciel, the Division Manager for the Mayor’s Gang Prevention Task Force.
Court records show Collins told arresting officers he worked for the task force and that he took the stolen, loaded gun from a kid on the streets earlier that day.
“Our focus is to transform lives and save children. The last thing I need to do is to spend energy defending the purpose and the integrity of the Mayor's Gang Prevention Task Force,” said Maciel.
Collins is actually employed by the Aquarius Project.
The Aquarius Project receives grant money from the MGPTF to conduct gang intervention.
“I’m devastated,” said Hewitt Joyner, who runs the Aquarius Project.
Joyner says his agency recruited Collins out of juvenile hall. Joyner says Collins was making great strides in getting kids on the right track.
“We had high hopes for this kid,” said Joyner. “We put a lot of work into him. I don’t know what drove him to do something so stupid.”
Efforts to reach Collins in jail were unsuccessful.
The arrest comes at a time when gang-related crime is rising in San Jose. The city relies heavily on the intervention efforts of community groups.
Maciel says the arrest is a black eye on his efforts to keep kids safe.
“Our hands are full,” Maciel said. “We have more issues than we can deal with and this issue just diverts us from our focus.”