More than 100 members of Wilmington's two major Latino street gangs began orchestrating journeys into each other's territories this week in what members said is an attempt to end a recent wave of violence.
On Wednesday a group from the East Side Wilmas gang met with members of the West Side Wilmas in a park in west Wilmington. On Thursday a similar gathering was held on the other side of town.
The gatherings followed a meeting Tuesday night organized by members of a local Catholic Church. They distributed 2,000 flyers inviting gang members to have peace talks. After hours of prodding, about 20 rival gang members shook hands and agreed to try to urge their colleagues to stop using firearms in gang confrontations.
Shootings by the two gangs have helped make this one of the worst years of gang violence in the history of the Los Angeles Police Department's Harbor Division. Through August, gang members have killed 15 people in the division, contrasted with only six during the same period the year before.