Gang members push Tahoe family out of home |

Gang members push Tahoe family out of home

Gregory Crofton

A pile of rocks, a scared 4-year-old and a U-Haul summed up the situation.

A family in fear moved out of a house they rent at 1128 Sonora Avenue Monday afternoon after gang members reportedly threw rocks at their house and threatened them.

Tension has brewed between the family and gang since January when Rick Kilgoar found a blue Cyclone tag spray-painted on the door of his car.

Kilgoar is not sure what provoked the act, but he is white and his longtime girlfriend is Hispanic. He said gang members know he doesn’t like them.

Thursday night things came to a head when three gang members confronted Kilgoar and a friend on his front lawn.

“They said, ‘We live here, this is our place. This is our barrio, the Cyclones,’ ” Kilgoar said, as he loaded possessions into a U-Haul. “One guy lifted his shirt and showed a CYS tattoo on chest.”

Then, with a whistle, about 15 people gathered and moved toward his home. Kilgoar said he grabbed a pole and his next door neighbor brought out his pit bull and an axe. Kilgoar said he drove the group off with several whacks from the weapon and support from neighbors.

That was not the end of it. Friday night gang member began to throw rocks at their house. More rocks came at them Saturday and then on Monday as they began to pack things and take them to a friend’s house.

“They said, ‘We’ll do this every night until you move.’ I’m moving out because I’ve got a little kid,” Kilgoar said. “My daughter starts crying and that just gets me madder.”

Kilgoar and his family are hoping to move to a house on Kingsbury Grade.

“I lived here for a year, and I didn’t have no problem. I moved away from the Bay area to get away from that stuff,” Kilgoar, 24, said.

Monica Lujan, the 20-year-old girlfriend of Kilgoar, said they called police several times about the gang members, but when officers arrive the vandals scatter. She said police did arrest one person Saturday night.

Police are investigating the reports. South Lake Tahoe Police Commander Rich McGuffin said gang-related crime has been at a minimum. “Every once in a while we have graffiti going on,” he said. “Occasionally we get some conflicts between gangs.”

McGuffin said it is rare to get a report of gang members harassing citizens.

John R. Lee, 74, and his 82-year-old wife own the home rented by Kilgoar and Lujan. They live in Roseville, Calif., but plan to come to South Shore for a Latino Affairs Commission meeting May 9.

Police recently organized the commission to open lines of communication between Latinos and officers.

“My wife and I go there hoping to get some indication from leaders in the Latin community,” Lee said. “We’ve owned this property for 25 years and never had that problem before. I’m losing very good tenants. They’re terrorized. They are not vandals. They’re terrorists.”

Adam Linsley, a man born and raised at South Lake Tahoe, helped Kilgoar defend his home and family Thursday night.

“This is not a ghetto. People act like it is. It’s not,” he said. “I was trying to have a birthday party the other night barbecuing chicken and I was out here chasing people up the road with a stick. It’s retarded, I’m completely incredulous. Especially the fact that they are claiming L. A. in Tahoe.”

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