FBI, Louisville police address youth gang memo
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – A Louisville youth gang known as YNO, or "Young ‘N Off That," did not gather at Waterfront Park March 22 to memorialize Me'Quale Offutt, the teen stabbed to death on a TARC bus on March 16, according to an FBI email that was not intended to be made public.
Instead, according to the email the FBI sent to law enforcement agencies, YNO went to the park to fight another gang, "believed to be TYS – Trill Young Savages," whose members had been "talking smack" about Offutt. When the TYS members didn't show, according to the memo, "mob violence" ensued.
The email was written in the wake of the spate of youth violence that started at Waterfront Park on March 22.
On Wednesday, the FBI issued a statement saying the email "contained raw, unverified intelligence generated from various sources.
"Due to the fact that it dealt with a threat of violence, it was immediately sent to law enforcement partners. The contents of this e-mail are considered law enforcement sensitive," the FBI said.
Meanwhile, Louisville Metro police acknowledged getting the memo but Chief Steve Conrad said he has "no idea" who is the source of the FBI's information and whether it is true or not.
"I don't know how credible any of that information is," he said.
But Conrad said the information provided by the FBI "allows us to do the planning we need to do to prepare for events coming our way."
Mary Trotman, a legal advisor for the FBI Kentucky office, would not say who originated the memo, which also includes potential threats that YNO wants to beat up Anthony Allen, the man who was not indicted in connection with the TARC stabbing, and his daughter.
Trotman said the email was supposed to be only for law enforcement, but has "gone viral."
The memo also mentions threats that YNO members may be planning to show up in large numbers at the Derby Festival's Pegasus Parade.
Trotman said no threats in the memo have been substantiated.
Asked about the threat to the parade, Conrad said there are fights and arrests every year and the department "will be prepared."
YNO, according to the memo, is comprised mainly of local middle school students and is one of six smaller gangs that are all affiliated with a larger group known as "The Family."
Conrad said he had not personally heard of YNO but that others in the department were familiar with the gang.
The violent spree that began at Waterfront Park led to 20 crime reports for incidents ranging from robbery to assault. Police arrested two suspects -- 18-year-old Shaquazz Allen and 19-year-old Tyrone Booker – in connection with allegedly knocking a woman unconscious in a car at First and Liberty Streets.
The two men were charged with assault, criminal mischief and unlawful imprisonment.
Sgt. Phil Russell, a police spokesman, said that a juvenile was arrested Monday on a charge of robbery and rioting stemming from the mob violence at Bader's Food Mart at 300 S. First St. On Tuesday, a 14-year-old was charged with multiple counts of robbery, rioting and burglary.
Another juvenile is expected to be charged in the next few days, he said.
Police originally said the March 16 TARC stabbing inspired a vigil at Waterfront Park on March 22. Allen wasn't indicted despite witnesses and the bus driver telling police that Allen instigated the fight and pulled his knife. A TARC video of the incident showed Allen tried to get off the bus and away from the teens when he was attacked.
Here is the memo in its entirety:
According to information , the group responsible for the "mob violence" in and around Waterfront Park , louisville, KY is a gang of middle school students known as YNO, which stands for "Young 'N Off That" ("off that" is slang for crazy or out of control). YNO may also refer to themselves as "Squad." YNO did not gather at Waterfront Park to memorialize Me'Quale Offutt, the boy who was killed on the TARC bus on 3/16, as was reported by the media. YNO members went to Waterfront Park to fight another local gang (believed to be TYS - Trill Young Savages) whose members had been "talking smack" about Offutt. TYS members apparently didn't show, which is when the "mob violence" ensued.
THREAT: Information received indicates that YNO wants to beat up Anthony Allen (the man acquitted for the stabbing death of Offutt), and they are specifically targeting Allen's daughter ("Anitra" according to media reports). Rumor on the street is that YNO members want to kill Allen's daughter. Additionally, there have been rumblings about YNO members planning on "going deep" (showing up in large numbers) at the upcoming Derby Parade. Specific plans for acts of violence or other criminal activity by YNO at the parade are currently unknown.
YNO is comprised of mainly middle school students from in and around the Louisville, KY area. YNO members are of various races, but the group is predominantly African American. There are both male and female YNO members.
The role of the females in this group is currently unknown.
Prior to the official formation of YNO, current members would hang out at the roller skating rink on Manslick and rap. Over the course of the summer of 2013, some middle school-aged individuals from Chicago (names unknown) moved to Louisville and began attending Frost Middle School. It is believed that the individuals from Chicago encouraged the individuals hanging out at the roller skating rink to "beef up" their efforts at becoming an actual gang.
When YNO was first organized, "initiation" for new members consisted of taking 10 "blows to the chest." Now, new members are required to assault someone (additional details about what is meant by "assault" or the required severity of the assault are unknown). Targets of this assault may be random, but are not always (a current YNO member allegedly locked is 9 year old little brother out of the house so that a YNO probate could assault the 9 year old as part of the probate's YNO initiation).
Recruitment to YNO originated at Frost Middle School, but quickly spread to other local middle schools. Recruitment occurs via social networking/social media, specifically Facebook and Twitter. YNO members may not be using their true names on their social media profiles. Many of the profile names start with "YNO" or have the word "Squad" in them somewhere. Additionally, many YNO members' current profile pictures are of Offutt. YNO members are also posting videos of themselves "being off that" (acting crazy) to Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. These videos apparently show members harassing teachers and other students at school. No further information is known about these videos at this time.
YNO's goal is to be a "super gang" and to take over "the business" (drug sales) in Louisville. As such, YNO is currently recruiting members of other more well-established local gangs. Recruits are permitted by YNO to maintain their allegiance to their original gang while being a member of YNO. YNO is attempting to recruit members from all of the different neighborhoods with local gangs because they want to compare all of the business models of the other gangs in an effort to come up with the most effective means of running their own "business" (again, selling drugs). YNO is currently attempting to identify and occupy corners that have not already been claimed by other gangs to "conduct business" (sell drugs).
Due to their recruitment of members of other gangs, many of the local Louisville gangs "have beef" with YNO because YNO is not "respecting the code" among gangs, gang members, and gang territories. Additionally, other gangs believe that YNO's actions are bringing increased law enforcement presence and scrutiny on other local gangs. There are rumors that other local gangs want to "take out" the kids in YNO because YNO is hurting their business and increasing law enforcement presence in their territories. At this time, the FBI does not have any additional details about this information.
Some older (early to mid-20s) members of other local gangs (specific gangs unknown) are scared of YNO because the members "don't respect the code," don't abide by the unwritten rules of the local gang subculture in Louisville, and because YNO members are unpredictable and possibly fearless - they "will do anything" and have been described as "crazy."
YNO members are "armed in a major way." There is apparently a "gun train" that comes through the West End (specific location unknown) and stops for a couple hours every Sunday night (the reason for this stop is unknown). This train is legitimately transporting firearms from suppliers to retailers to be sold. The train is apparently heavily guarded by armed individuals, but YNO members have figured out how to sneak onto the train and steal guns.
YNO's primary gathering spots are located on 38th St. (specific locations unknown). YNO likes to use some of the boarded up and/or abandoned houses on 38th St. Some of the houses that are used as YNO gathering spots may appear from the outside to be inhabited, but they aren't.
The number 677 is important to YNO, but the reason for this is unknown.
YNO is one of six smaller gangs that are all affiliated with a larger group known as "The Family." The other gangs that are part of "The Family" are mainly comprised of middle school-aged youths. These five gangs are as follows:
* JMCT (Junior Money Cash Team)
* CMY (Cash Money Youngins)
* OTF (Only The Family)
* LMCT (Loyal Money Cash Team)
o This group may have members that are older teenagers or young adults as well as middle school-aged kids.
* TTK (Trained To Kill)
o Members of the other five groups are "promoted" from their group into TTK.
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