Leaders of a nascent gang of teenagers that beat lone children in the Sunset and Taraval neighborhoods were arrested this week, according to police.
The 50-person True Brothers gang used weapons, force and intimidation to recruit its members from three schools in the City's west, according to Gang Task Force member Lieutenant Ernie Ferrando.
Duc Truong, 18, and seven kids aged 15 to 17 were arrested Wednesday, each at a different location in the City, between 6:00 and 10:00 a.m, according to police. The arrests were based on search warrants and evidence seized at each of the locations.
The teenagers were charged with aggravated assault, using a deadly weapon and false imprisonment, according to police. One of the juveniles was also charged with robbery.
Several more arrests are expected, according to Ferrando.
"Any gang at its onset is dangerous because it's trying to exert power, trying to get new members and doing recruitment by violence," Ferrando said. "That's what this was about - trying to get kids to come into their gang to get larger and get bigger."
The gang-members targeted kids that they recognized from school who were walking alone, but they didn't attack them on school grounds, Ferrando said.
"They started their own gang, basically. They were claiming turf out in the Sunset and Taraval. When they would do their beat downs, they would claim their name was True Brothers," Ferrado said, adding they hadn't yet developed colors or tattoos to identify themselves as gang members.
Five youths were assaulted by the gang in the past two months, with one of the victims requiring hospitalization in a critical-care unit for brain injuries, according to Ferrando. "They hit him so hard they bent an aluminum bat," he said.
Other youths are believed to have been attacked but have remained silent, according to Ferrando.
Ferrando said the task force had tracked the gang since it started to emerge a little under a year ago, using information gathered from informants, other gangs, community members and schools. The arrests were results of efforts made by the Gang Task Force and school police officers, as well as witnesses.
The arrested gang-members were American-born and of Chinese descent, according to Ferrando.