From yesterdays Register - your tax dollars at waste!
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
By Charles Lam
The luckiest day of Eddie Quiñonez's life just happened to arrive on a Friday the 13th. It was just after midnight in mid-October 2006, and Quiñonez, a former member of the Anaheim-based gang Down Familia de Wicked Soldiers (DFWS), had spent the afternoon at a local high-school football game with some old friends.
The then-22-year-old Quiñonez hadn't been an active member of the gang for years. He'd grown out his hair from the close gangster shave he used to sport, wore clothes that covered his old tattoos, and was on his way to graduating from Fullerton College. But there's a saying about old gang members: They never really leave their barrio.
After the game ended, Quiñonez met up with some of his old homies from DWFS. Together, they headed to one of the places where he used to hang out: an alley near where Dogwood Avenue dead-ends at Interstate 5 in Anaheim. At some point, Quiñonez began arguing with one of his old friends. He tried to leave and had just sat down in the driver's seat of his truck when one of his ex-homies confronted him.
"Give me your fucking truck!" the guy demanded.
Quiñonez took the keys out of the ignition. He wasn't giving up the truck without a fight. The next few minutes were a blur. Punching wildly with clenched fists, Quiñonez landed several blows, breaking bones in his own hands. His attacker wielded a knife, and by the time Quiñonez managed to grasp the blade, he'd already been stabbed 27 times. Blood spilled from cuts to his chest, hands, face and neck.
"I knew I got stabbed, but I didn't realize how bad it was," he recalls. Pulling a cell phone from his pocket, he called a friend who lived close by, asking her to give him a ride to the hospital. Then he tried to drive himself to her house. "I started feeling dizzy," he says. "I almost went head-on with a car. I passed out and woke up with the airbag in my face."
Quiñonez had just crashed his truck into a telephone pole at a nearby park. "When I looked into the mirror after I crashed, that's when I saw all the blood gushing out of my neck and hands," he says. Quietly, feeling his life slipping away, he prayed the Hail Mary in Spanish: "Dios te salve, Maria, llena eres de gracia . . ."
Onlookers cautioned him to stay in the vehicle, but Quiñonez got out, sat on a curb and fainted again. Someone took off his shirt and, to staunch the flow of blood, wrapped it around Quiñonez's punctured neck. An ambulance arrived and whisked him to UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange. He spent 17 hours in a coma and eight days in the hospital. An Anaheim police detective tried to interview Quiñonez about the stabbing, but he refused to cooperate with any investigation. The crime remains unsolved.
* * *
As Orange County's largest city, Anaheim faces some of its biggest problems, especially when it comes to its youngest residents. The city internationally known as the home of Disneyland, with its corporate brand of childhood innocence, had its image shattered in the summer of 2012. Controversial officer-involved shootings, allegations of police brutality, gangs and stark income inequality came to a riotous head in downtown Anaheim's streets on July 24, 2012.
The contradictions sparked self-reflection, but not much. A Disney-sponsored study by the Olin Group reported that Anaheim was failing its youth, particularly those between the ages of 13 and 18, by affording them few programs—or places—besides the streets to go to after school. Gangs lie in wait for those falling through the cracks. "The current number of truly active gangs in Anaheim is 25," Anaheim Police Department spokesman Lieutenant Tim Schmidt says. In the past decade, APD reported a total of 55 "gang-related" homicides and 20 officer-involved shootings that have slugged documented gang members.
It was this dangerous underbelly of Orange County, where young lives can be ended by endemic gang violence or destroyed by lengthy prison sentences, that welcomed Eddie Quiñonez in 1996, when he became a gang member at age 13. His run-ins with the law would pipeline him into the Orange County Probation system, where he was fortunate to be exposed to the so-called 8 percent program (a county-run intervention system focused on the 8 percent of youth defined as repeat offenders) and Los Pinos, a minimum-security conservation camp nestled in the Cleveland National Forest near Lake Elsinore. He credits the two with helping him to eventually turn his life around.
Unfortunately, the 8 percent program Quiñonez benefited from doesn't exist now as it did then. In 2010, specific funding ended for the program, and it was rolled into the OC Probation Department's Youth Reporting Center partnership, a move that shuttered the program's last two affiliated Youth Family Resource Centers. And citing the effects of the Great Recession and federal funding cuts, Los Pinos also shut down that year. The 156-bed facility came to an end after 39 years of operation. "The trends over the past decade make for grim prospects for at-risk youth" in Anaheim, observes Gina Peralta of W. Haywood Burns Institute for Juvenile Justice Fairness & Equity. "Their chances are slim."
From yesterdays Register - your tax dollars at waste!
Stop civilian brutality. And pay your medical bills when you get stabbed by your "homies". I'm sure they were pretty high for 8 days in the hospital. But I bet you skipped out and left the whites to pay for it.
Brilliant work Gabriel San Roman!!! I'm blown away by your commitment to bringing the truth to light. More at risk youth need to read your story. I am inspired to invite Eddie to our next Youth Conference, I am sure he will inspire many students.
As an Anaheim resident I was blown away by the outrages amount of active gangs and homicidess.
Eddie keep up the good fight, you will be a transformational counselor for teens one day. Si se puede! Let's continue to close the achievement gap!!
Thanks for sharing your story Eddie. It is these types of stories that make my job as a Community College Counselor worth GOLD! Congratulations! I hope that you continue to motivate more young ones so that we can continue to increase the number of college degrees attained rather than increase the number of prisoners. Si Se Puede!!
I hope he makes his dream come true working with teens. His life experiences can change the course of a young person born or living in an environment plagued by violence. I'm glad that he had somebody that believed in him and his potential. I hope that somebody out there with the financial means is able to give him the $$ he needs to finish his graduate studies. It takes a village...
wtf? I guess cal state fullerton is the Harvard for Mexicans... after all, most of those idiots don't even make it past 6th grade
From the last time I checked CSUF is a fully accredited university, that has an elite program they offer in majors, which makes it difficult to get accepted there. Just because its no Ivy League school, doesn't make it no less of a university. And there's a diverse abundance if people who attend here, not just Mexicans; thus it's no consolation prize to be here, it's a privalage!
@mehiconoesbueno As opposed to you, who never bothered with school?
Quinonez was an idiot for not turning in the other gang-banger. Just proves he still has his affiliations. I wonder how many innocent victims the perp has robbed, maimed or worse yet killed since Quinonez helped get him off. Stupid is as stupid does.
@terryevd is talking shit for me not turning in the fool, then there's @kbear09090 talking shit if I were insinuating that if I would now hypothetically turn a person in, if they did that to me now. Basically I'm damned both ways. Well I could accept criticism from @terryevd, because I could see his point. But @kbear09090 needs to take his shit talking off this page, and grow the fuck up. Thus I never said if I would now, I'm spitting out knowledge something you know nothing about, you fucking in basal. @meheecan-cris-doner, thank you for putting this idiot in his place :-)'
@terryevd, that was over 7 yrs ago. Oh well it is what it is. I can't go back and undo things. I just harbored that code of silence persona of not wanting to succumb to doing that, at that given time. Now I'm at a more wiser way of thinking. Thus get to know me before u call me an idiot.
@terryevd Sometimes it takes while to grow up, and the incident you're referring to occurred 8 years ago. Sounds like you don't know what it is like to live in "one of those neighborhoods," right? And you must of done everything right at age 22, right? As a former Los Pinos staff that worked with this kid and saw the good in him, I was very pleased to read this article.
@twoodruff1966, thank you my friend for clearing that up with this guy who didn't understand what it was like, to be stuck between a rock and a hard place. You knew that life better than anybody, because u worked with us wards up there. Email me at email@example.com, I would like to know which staff member you were, I hope to hear from u soon :-).
@eddie.m.quinonez Are you saying if it happened today you would co-operate with the police and turn in your ex associates?
I think that is well implied, pendejo.
Ok , so this Hampton cop is a bad one
we all agree get him off the force
all good cops want bad cops off the force
so then dont all good families/people want bad families/people out of their area/ force???
if yes, then those "lengthly" sentences are not so lengthly
then why keep demanding we pay for their bad habits via welfare
AND FORGET CALLING ME GOP
We applaud people who turn their lives around like this young man did
BUT TO USE THIS AS yet ANOTHER reason to leave unarmed people vulnerable to more attacks so
you can earn/have/enhance street cred or ladder climbing on the mslsd food chain is a disservice to good people everywhere
DisneyLand is a reality
It really exists as much as the gang violence
gangs occur b/c the Dems KNOW THAT THEY NEED TO STAY IN POWER VIA AN ANGRY BASE OF PEOPLE
IF "these people" ever figure the Dems out
"or destroyed by lengthly prison sentences"
TALK ABOUT OUT OF CONTEXT
you mean a guy puffn a joint gets 5 years?
yeah, thats wrong
how about a violent criminal getting 15 years?
too" lengthly" for you??
ITS easy to be a lover when its not your neighborhood or household that has to re-receive a criminal
b/c some "lover" wants to give them another chance
( which of course bleeds right into this story,,,yeah, I get it
"THE GOVERNMENT IS FAILING "ITS" YOUTH"
first problem , among many firsts
YOU DISRESPECT by not allowing the PARENTS TO TAKE FULL RESPONSIBILITY
but instead curl up in the literary fetal position and proclaim,
its societies fault
IF YOU ARE YOUR BROTHERS KEEPER
THEN YOU MUST SHOW THEM RESPECT
and that starts with
they have the power to be responsible
and they must be responsible to have the power
I always wondered why Eddie got such a small settlement. Now I know. And I know Garo Mardirossian could have afforded to give him the whole 25 Gs.
I think that my turning my life around here is the thesis of the story, not now much I got in my lawsuit. I did get a decent amount after the attorney fees. Keep in mind that nobody works for free, so I'm not complaining about Mr. Mardirossian's work he did for me. Glad that I got to tell the public here about my transformation, and the different obstacles I had to overcome to do so.
terryved aka pendejo... granted that person that harmed Eddie would probably engage in that behavior after the incident with Eddie. but there is one problem, pendejo. instead of basing you're premise on a probability your statement's foundation is solely based on certainty. in other words, your logic is invalid, pendejo. so be careful in using the word ”idiot” so loosely. by the way, it would not surprise me if you did not understand the logic i explained, pendejo. ha!
@terryevd u need to understand that this happened over 7 years ago. So read the article thoroughly and scrutinize it in that small brain of yours. I think a person with a learning disability wound understand more than u, about the time length of the events in this article.
Thank you for sharing your amazing story Eddie. You are a true inspiration! And major props to Gabriel San Roman for a brilliant article. After reading it I had that same overall feeling I get after watching a great movie. Which leads me to think, wouldn't the Eddie Quinonez story make a sensational movie?
@eddie.m.quinonez Don't you feel any guilt over your attacker's other victims since you would not co-operate? That's nothing more than a macho attitude. I get the impression you still don't know the difference between right and wrong.
@eddie.m.quinonez Awesome story man - great to see you making moves in the right direction! Thanks for sharing your story with us!
Great job of earning your education. Use your life experiences to share and motivate the many other gangsters to change their life around.
You were one of the coolest coaches I ever had!
Mr. Victor Barrios, how have you been my friend? It's been a while since we last saw each other over a Gilbert South. Take care there and I hope to see you around soon:-).
I remember Eddie from when we went to cal state Fullerton together. He was a really smart and intelligent guy, who had all the girls liking him because of his sophisticated ways in how he talked to them. If I could admire anybody it would be this young man. I'm glad to hear that he's still doing good and he has a bright future ahead of him:).
pastor eddie is a nice guy. he feeds the homeless on a daily basis, and is that type of person that would give you his last dollar. this guy is going to heaven.
Los Pinos Probation Camp turned around this kid, and hundreds of others over the decades it was in operation. Sadly it was closed due to ugly internal politics. These kids, and the system, were left with few options to turn around desperate lives. I wonder how many kids, now adults, are in prison as a result of the closure of Los Pinos five years ago.