FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. - As police continue to investigate the discovery of human remains in a Fairfax County park, Col. Edwin Roessler joined FOX 5 to talk about the impact of gangs on the community.
"Unfortunately, these are kids in middle school for the most part that lack a family environment, and gangs are providing that support system," he said. "Violence is part of their culture, and homicide - murder, if you will - is the ultimate violence that gang members commit against other gang members to gain status."
He calls the spike in gang crime alarming and says the remains found recently have still yet to be identified.
Most of the gang members are from South America. He said that most lack a sense of family and that most engaged in these violent crimes have no sense of remorse or guilt.
Roessler said that the county is working with school resource officers on intervention and prevention methods to keep young people safe.
He says there is sometimes a gap between the police department and community members who he says might feel that by cooperating with police they may expose themselves to immigrations law enforcement.
"Don't be afraid to call the police department in Fairfax County. We need to stop the criminal activity at the lowest levels and get our youth involved in positive programs," Roessler said.
"What I can tell you is that these murders are brutal and savage," Roessler added. "They're not just 'shoot someone and run away.' These are horrific events where people are brutally killed."
Roessler said that the general public is usually not the focus when it comes to gang-on-gang crime. However, he said, if the gangs continue to grow their impact may spread into the community.