The alleged hitman was a U.S. Army vet and police officer with a young son. In online photos, he’s handsomely clad in fatigues or in uniform, saluting on a patch of manicured grass bearing the black and yellow Army star.
But not long after Vancito Gumbs served this country, he was serving the violent Gangster Disciples street gang, authorities say.
Gumbs is one of 32 people in metro Atlanta named in a federal indictment targeting Gangster Disciples leaders and their henchmen, who are accused of a slew of racketeering charges, including murder, drug trafficking, and wire fraud. Two suspects are still at large.
Meanwhile, in Tennessee, the feds charged 16 more alleged gang members as part of the Southern bust.
Authorities say the 23-year-old Gumbs was an officer with the DeKalb County Police Department while also acting as a hired killer for the notorious gang.
“I’m saddened to learn one of our former officers was involved in this,” DeKalb County Police Chief James Conroy said at a news conference Wednesday.
“There are bad apples in every organization. This was a bad apple,” Conroy added.
The indictment describes Georgia’s Gangster Disciples underworld, where membership dues are collected and budding gangsters are taught to peddle drugs or torch their cars and homes to collect insurance money.
According to the indictment, Gangster Disciples outlaws committed 10 murders, 12 attempted murders, and fraud of more than $450,000.
They allegedly generated income through drug trafficking, robbery, carjacking, wire fraud, bank fraud, and credit-card fraud.
And, according to court documents, they shot a 17-year-old in the chest after he walked in front of their music video shoot wearing the wrong color. The shooter believed the teen insulted the Disciples.
Enforcers also extorted a rapper identified only as “R.R.,” who was forced to pay the gang for use of its name and symbols, prosecutors say.
Court papers are littered with the nicknames of Gangster Disciples stalwarts: Smurf, Spike, Detroit Red, Blackjack, Shakey, or simply OG.
If Gumbs had a nom de guerre, it wasn’t listed in the indictment.
The Stone Mountain resident is also the son or close relative of a police officer, public records show.
Vancito E. Gumbs, who is also Facebook friends with the alleged hitman, is a retired captain with the Virgin Islands Police Department. The elder Gumbs did not return messages left by The Daily Beast.
The younger Gumbs resigned from cop duty in DeKalb County in October 2015, while under investigation by his superiors. According to Conroy, the department looked into Gumbs after receiving a complaint that he was using illegal drugs.
Around that time, Gumbs admitted to killing people as a “hitman” for the Disciples, according to court papers. It’s unclear who Gumbs allegedly confessed to, however, in the documents.
He also allegedly helped the gang by tipping them off to police raids.
Chief Conroy couldn’t say whether Gumbs was a police officer or Gangster Disciples member first, when asked by a reporter.
Still, Gumbs was a policeman when he traveled with the gang’s “chief enforcer” in Georgia to “take care of GD business” in fall of 2015, court papers state.
That enforcer, Kevin Clayton, was allegedly responsible for ensuring members were in good standing and followed the gang’s rules and regulations. Clayton was also arrested this week in the federal roundup. The indictment states the enforcer meted out punishments, including “kill on sight” orders.
In September 2015, Clayton told Gumbs that co-defendant Donald Glass was Clayton’s “right-hand guy,” according to the indictment. Clayton and Glass allegedly founded the Gangster Disciples’ “HATE Committee,” which was a “clean-up crew” that administered discipline, including assaults and killings.
Then Clayton bragged that Gangster Disciples had infiltrated police departments and the parole office, the indictment says.
Around that time, Gumbs posted an image on Facebook of Jack Nicholson as the Joker, standing behind and holding the shoulders of Heath Ledger as the same “Batman” character. “My favorite kinds of ppl,” Gumbs wrote in a comment.
On Oct. 1, 2015, Clayton asked Gumbs to find out what DeKalb County police were investigating on a certain road, and the allegedly crooked cop later informed Clayton it was a shooting, court papers state.
Two days later, Gumbs phoned Clayton to deliver another piece of intel: He should stay away from a sports bar police were raiding, documents say. Clayton also allegedly requested Gumbs to bring him a gun.
According to the indictment, the Gangster Disciples began in Chicago after the leaders of two different gangs, the Black Disciples and the Supreme Gangsters, joined forces in the 1970s. It’s now active in 24 states.
The gang’s hierarchy is based on the premise that “the enterprise will be ready to step in and run the United States should its government fail,” the indictment claims.
Their national “chairman,” identified in court papers as L.H. but referring to Larry Hoover, is incarcerated but still communicates with gang leadership. Hoover, 65, is in America’s toughest prison, the federal supermax ADX Florence in Colorado, where he was transferred after running a drug ring in an Illinois clink. Fellow inmates include the worst of the worst: 9/11 attacks conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui, the Unabomber, and Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
Hoover surfaced in the news last November, after gangsters lured 9-year-old Chicago boy Tyshawn Lee into an alley and executed him.
As The Daily Beast reported, the boy’s father was said to be a member of the New Money Renegade faction of the Killaward gang, which is part of the Disciples, and in a war with a faction of the Black P. Stone gang.
Little Tyshawn’s murder prompted an Illinois congressman to fly to the Florence supermax to meet with Larry Hoover and rival gang leader Jeff Fort, now known as Abdul Malik Kabah, to demand peace, ABC 7 reported.
“Board members” are the highest-ranking members and keep contact with state and regional leaders known as “governors,” who coordinate the criminal enterprises within their territories.
The members are simply called “Brothers of the Struggle.” They promote the gang through “networking,” celebrations of Hoover’s birthday and an annual Gangsters Ball. At meetings, they devise ways to dodge the police and keep witnesses in fear, prosecutors say.
The 55-page indictment contains a whirlwind of crimes beginning in 2009, including the possession and distribution of cocaine, heroin, and marijuana.
Authorities arrested Gangster Disciples members throughout Georgia and as far as Birmingham, Denver, and even Madison, Wisconsin, as part of the sweep.
There’s also a surfeit of seedy details in court documents providing an inside look at gang operations.
One defendant, Markell White, burned his own drug house down, then submitted a false claim to defraud his insurance company, according to the indictment.
Among the defendants are Alonzo Walton, aka “Spike G,” who was the Disciples’ “Governor” of Georgia and at one time overseeing operations in Georgia, Florida, Texas, Indiana, and South Carolina, court papers say.
Lewis Mobely, also called “OG,” was an enforcer and member of Clayton’s alleged “HATE Committee,” who assaulted two correctional officers by hurling a chemical solution in their faces and eyes, prosecutors say.
Shauntay Craig, a “Board Member” who went by “Shakey” and “Shake G,” discussed launching a “Ladies of Distinguished Nature” prostitution service for members to use during Gangster Disciples events, court papers state.
When one member, identified as “Q.H.,” had a verbal fight with a Bloods gangster in June 2015, Donald Glass and the HATE Committee reprimanded him for not seeking a bloodier retribution. Glass “urged Q.H. to remedy his poor prior performance by finding and shooting a rival Bloods gang member,” the indictment states.
Q.H. then shot and killed DeMarco Franklin, who was believed to be in the Bloods, according to prosecutors.
On Wednesday, U.S. Attorney John Horn said federal interest in pursuing the Gangster Disciples wasn’t concluded by the indictment.
“Atlanta has historically been resistant to the incursion of these national gangs, but unfortunately today’s indictment shows how this landscape has changed,” Horn said in a prepared statement, adding, “We hope this indictment warns the leaders of these gangs that Atlanta is not a good place to do business.”