Kid Killers; A Tragedy of the 90's

By C. L. Staten

Chicago, IL, September 8, 1994 -- At a time when an eleven-year-old boy should be playing baseball, enjoying the end of summer and looking forward to returning to school, Robert "Yummy" Sandifer lay in a coffin at a Southside Chicago funeral home. He was allegedly killed by two members of the "Black Disciples", a gang to which he belonged. Reportedly, Sandifer was killed because he had gunned down a fourteen year old girl named Shavon Dean on August 28, 1994.

The surrounding furor caused by the girl's death put pressure on police and put other gang members at risk.

On the day of his death, "Yummy" Sandifer was called on by his gang cohorts and led to a nearby viaduct, under the pretense of helping him escape the police.  Forced to kneel on the concrete, Sandifer was shot in the back of the head, assassination style.

Sandifer's death wasn't that unique in the overall scheme of today's violent form of "gangbanging". An increasing number of teens and pre-teens are heavily involved in the gang environment, with many of them dying as a result of their involvement. Gang leaders are recruiting larger numbers of younger "homeboys" to participate in gang activities. As previously reported by Emergency Net NEWS, there are a variety of perceived "advantages" for both gang leaders and the youthful members. The lure of easy money and drugs, fast cars, weapons, and personal security is a powerful incentive for the young men and women, who might not otherwise want to get involved in gangs. Gangs also provide a "family" that the youngsters might not otherwise have at home.