Report: Street Gang Has Issued 'Hit' On Tennessee Law Enforcement Officers
Cumberland County, TN – The Vice Lords gang has allegedly issued a “hit” on all law enforcement officers throughout Tennessee.
Although law enforcement has not officially confirmed what inspired the alert, it is widely believed to be connected to the Jan. 10 murder of former local kingpin of the Chicago-based Vice Lords gang in Memphis, NBC News reported.
UPDATE: Despite news reports, the Tennessee Department of Corrections says that they have not received any information about any direct threats to law enforcement, and they have not intercepted any such calls, according to 1057 News who originally reported on it.
Memphis police are investigating the shooting deaths of 49-year-old Ronald Terry and 36-year-old Candid Sanders, after they were found fatally shot in a white Cadillac.
Terry, known as "Big Pokey" or "Porky," was born in Chicago and moved to Memphis in 2000 with a mission to bring the unruly local gang chapter under control, according to NBC News.
He was later arrested for attempted murder of another gang member, and in 2006, pleaded guilty and began working with the authorities.
In 2014, court records showed he claimed to have renounced his affiliation with the Vice Lords in a deal cut with the prison system.
He was transferred to a correctional facility in Florida where his sentence expired in 2016, NBC News reported.
The Tennessee Department of Corrections locked down all the prisons in the state on the day of Terry’s murder "due to information received from external law enforcement partners," according to a statement, NBC reported.
A Bledsoe County Correctional Complex source confirmed the facility has been locked down since Jan. 10, 1057 News reported.
On Monday, the alert was extended to law enforcement outside the prison system.
Initially, Cumberland County Dispatch issued an alert to Crossville police and Cumberland County sheriff’s deputies on Sunday night, advising them of the threat and urging them to exercise extreme caution, 1057 News reported.
“All units use extra caution…calls intercepted by Morgan Co and NW Corrections that indicate the VICE Lord gang has put a hit out on all TN Law Enforcement and Corrections,” a Facebook message regarding the threat read, according to the news outlet.
“Any and all calls could be a set up or ambush. Please be alert and wear vests. This was confirmed by CPD department head per 5512. – From: Cumberland Co 911,” the post concluded.
A statewide alert was also issued.
Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Spokesman Josh DeVine told NBC News that the agency had been "requested to provide a situational awareness message to law enforcement agencies for general officer safety."
"There was no specific threat,” Devine clarified.
The Vice Lords gang was founded in Chicago in the 1950s, and rose to become the city’s second-largest street gang, according to Chicago Gang History.
The criminal enterprise is believed to have as many as 35,000 members, 1057 News reported.