Former Gang Member Sends Message After Payton Benson Murder

Countless drive by shootings stem from gangs that plague Omaha.

The murder of five-year old Payton Benson motivated Silas Thorpe to come forward and talk about gang life in the metro. He tells WOWT 6 News he is a former gang member.

"I was influenced. I was young and impressionable. You have older men that will manipulate young men to do things they are too cowardly to do," said Thorpe.

Police have arrested five suspects connected to the investigation. All five of them are confirmed gang members.

Thorpe said he moved to Omaha at 13. Within a year, he was in a gang. And it sadly didn't take long for Thorpe to feel the violence first hand; that violence coming from a drive by shooting.

"I got shot at the age of 14 in the head and in the back," said Thorpe pointing to his head and back.

It's a life he broke away from, but not before serving jail time. After hearing about young Payton's murder, he now wants to spread this message.

"If you call yourself a gangster, well gangsters go to the polls. Power is in the vote. Power is not in the murdering of your fellow brother and sister, that tears down the community," said Thorpe.

As for Payton's murder investigation, Omaha police continue to work around the clock since her death. Some units are working on the case specifically and others are putting in overtime working on reducing retaliation. Mayor Jean Stothert has authorized the surge.

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