Gang violence
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Video

Truce that ended 30 years of LA gang warfare

For 30 years two rival Los Angeles gangs, the Bloods and the Crips, had fought a deadly turf war in which hundreds died.

Aqeela Sherrills grew up in the Watts district of the city where straying into a rival gang's territory could prove fatal.

In 1992, he decided that the violence had to stop and helped bring together rival Watts gang leaders to broker a peace deal between the two sworn enemies.

In the first year after the truce, gang homicide dropped by 44 percent.

However the peace deal did not hold and gang violence between the two groups is still a problem in Los Angeles.

Aqeela spoke to Witness about the truce and his neighbourhood of Watts, a part of Los Angeles where people "love intensely" and "hate fiercely".

Witness is a World Service programme of the stories of our times told by the people who were there.

  • 15 Apr 2015
Go to next video: The drone operator who said 'No'