Suleika Acosta KOLD News 13 Reporter
Gang violence is on the rise in Tucson, despite a massive effort by the Tucson Police Department to get the upper hand.
Gang related homicides are double what they were this time last year. And in the city's latest gang shooting, police are asking for your help in catching the criminals at large.
It's a growing epidemic on the streets of Tucson...gangs. When the wrong groups collide, violence erupts.
The latest gang-related incident ending in the death of a young Tucson man. It started at Benson Highway and Campbell. Police say just after three o'clock Sunday morning, people inside two cars were arguing. But the incident quickly escalated. Investigators say the two cars pulled over, just blocks away at Greenway and Honeysuckle.
"Some gang signs were exchanged, there was a traffic altercation," explains TPD Officer Dallas Wilson. That's when police say 22-year-old Mario Lona stepped out of the car to confront the four men in the other vehicle. Police say passengers in that car gunned down the young man.
"That victim was transported to the hospital by the other people in the car he was in," says Wilson. Lona was pronounced dead later at the hospital.
As gang activity grows, so does law enforcement. The Tucson Police Department Gang Tactical Unit has doubled it's force since last year. The group is dedicated to patrolling neighborhoods with frequent gang activity. And officers rely on you to help put these criminals behind bars. "We would encourage the community or witnesses, other victims of gang violence to make sure they report it. They can report it anonymously," adds Wilson.
The suspects who shot Lona are still on the loose. Police are after four Hispanic men, last seen driving a blue or gray SUV, possibly a Mitsubishi Montero. If you have any information, call 88-Crime.
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