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February 7, 2013

Hired to reduce crime, this teen arrested for committing it

Charged with illegal possession of loaded assault rifle, handgun

LAWRENCE, Mass. — A young city worker hired with a federal anti-crime grant has been disclosed as a member of the "Everybody's Killers" street gang and found in possession of a loaded assault rifle, loaded handgun, masks and walkie-talkies.

Julio Pizzini, 18, was one of three gang members arrested Tuesday after a late-night traffic stop and police chase. He was hired by the Community Development Department last year under a  $800,000 federal grant to reduce violence in this crime-ridden immigrant city north of Boston.

The "Everybody's Killers" gang -- EBK, for short --  has been suspected by authorities in a string of area robberies and other crimes. Last month, three gang members tried to shoot their way out of a convenience store they were robbing when police arrived. They eventually surrended.

Pizzini was one of several young people the city had hired with the federal anti-crime grant in an effort to connect to street gangs and get them to discontinue their criminal behavior, including drug dealing and gun violence. He was a 32-hour per week worker at the city cemetery.

"He's been doing very well," said Art McCabe, his supervisor. "But like many of these kids, they are stuck in the middle of two different lifestyles."

Lawrence, heavily populated with legal and illegal immigrants from the Dominican Republic,  has one of the highest crime rates in New England. Many young people belong to street gangs as a way of life, said McCabe.

Pizzini and his two fellow gang members were charged with illegal possession of firearms. Police Chief John Romero said that "given the history of the gang and what was in the car, we believe we interrupted something."

Romero has described the EBK gang as "a bunch of thugs."-

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Details for this story were provided by The Eagle-Tribune, North Andover, Mass.

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