Gang members indicted for killing Black AmeriCorps worker on deadly rampage

Photo Credit: Joseph Massenburg; Family photo, Sharon Massenburg
Photo Credit: Joseph Massenburg; Family photo, Sharon Massenburg

For decades, the Black community has been calling for young Black males to unite for a cause. No one predicted that they needed to include the words “good cause” in the calling, assuming “uniting” implied goodness; however, members of three New Orleans street gangs answered the call and proved otherwise.

According to a May 24 special grand jury indictment, members of the violent street gangs Mid-City Killers, Young Gangstas Gang and Young Melph Mafia put their differences aside to unite, going on a murderous rampage through the streets of New Orleans, killing Black AmeriCorps volunteer Joseph Massenburg, 18, in 2013.

According to the Times-Picayune, the indictment points the finger at four gang members — Glen “G Three Stone” Emerson, 21; Dwayne “Wayne” Miller, 25; Richard “Trey” Ward, 18; and Tyron “Gangsta-T” Watson, 23.

The young men came together in 2012 in a plot to carry out a long list of murders. In the end, the bloody count included five murders and five attempted murders.

The judge set bond at $7.8 million for Emerson and Miller, who were charged with five counts of second-degree murder, five counts of attempted second-degree murder and one count of conspiracy to commit murder.

Ward, who was charged with involvement in three murders and one attempted murder, has a bond of $3.8 million.

Finally, Watson was charged with conspiracy and involvement in Massenburg’s murder. His bond was set at $1.3 million.

The irony in these indictments is the murder of Massenburg, who had just arrived in New Orleans less than a month earlier. A native of Illinois, Massenburg was volunteering to make New Orleans better.

The day the teen was killed, he was walking home from volunteering with Green Light New Orleans, a local nonprofit organization that installs energy-efficient lighting in low-income housing. Authorities believe his shooting was a case of mistaken identity.

After the shooting, Andre Massenburg, Joesph’s father, told the Times-Picayune, “He was a good kid, a religious kid … I don’t know who would want to do something like this to him.” Pointing out that his son was good at helping people in need, he said, “That’s why he joined AmeriCorps … All he wanted to do was give his life to service.”

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