Gang sends message by spray-painting building - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Jason Miles

Gang sends message by spray-painting building

The explicit graffiti is as big as a billboard.  It's spray-painted in bold letters on the side of a vacant building at Madison and Pauline.

"It's kind of crazy," said medical student Knecole Price.

Price could not put her finger on exactly what it means.

"It kind of looks like a heart in the middle," said Price.

Action News 5 had no clue either, until an undercover detective with the Shelby County Street Crimes Unit told us.

"I noticed the first three letters automatically -- and that was K-A-L," said the detective.

Those three letters represent an Hispanic gang.

"An Hispanic gang that's locally here in Memphis that originated over by Kingsbury High School," the detective told us.

The next two words in the graffiti speak for themselves.

"It's going to be the "f" word them "um," said the detective.  "Or K-A-L "f" 'em," he added.

The detective told us it's a big bold message from a rival gang.  Although it's hard to to say which one.

"You know, the Gangster Disciples, the Vice Lords," said the detective.  "It could be any of our traditional gangs in America or it could be another Hispanic gang," he added.

Given the fact that the medical district is made up mostly of businesses, he says it's safe to assume the gang behind the graffiti is not marking its territory.

"I think they're making a statement," he said.

A huge statement many want to see erased as soon as possible.

The Memphis Bioworks Foundation owns that vacant building.  The president tells us they are planning to have the graffiti removed and that the gang got into the building by cutting through a chain-link fence.

Click here to e-mail Jason Miles.

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