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Gangs' Deadly Reach Growing Younger

Although he never joined, Anthony began to dress like them. "You couldn't tell them apart," said Juan Sanchez, 16, a friend and classmate of Anthony's.

He almost always wore a black Oakland Raiders jersey, which is popular among gang members because of its dark color, friends and relatives said. All his friends at Annandale High School wore similar clothes: jerseys with baggy pants that piled on top of tan Timberland boots. In the summer, they would don blue or black flannel shirts with only the top button fastened.

Anthony Campos's family has set up a memorial at home for the teenager, who was killed by alleged gang members. (Marvin Joseph -- The Washington Post)

_____From The Post_____
Residents Voice Fears at Forum on Gang Growth (The Washington Post, Jan 30, 2005)
Md. Gang Member Guilty in Slaying (The Washington Post, Jan 29, 2005)
Teens Not Targeted In N.Va. Shooting (The Washington Post, Jan 26, 2005)
Family Says Slain Va. Teen Was Not Involved in a Gang (The Washington Post, Jan 25, 2005)
Gangs Sharpen Intimidation (The Washington Post, Jan 16, 2005)
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"Everybody dresses like that -- even I dress like that," said Anthony's brother, Johnny Jr., who works with his father as a bowling-alley technician. "All that's classic gangster style. I don't think that will ever go away because of how society is."

Johnny Campos Jr., 23, said he never worried about Anthony joining a gang because his brother was shy, quiet and hated confrontations. "He saw what I went through, he saw what my parents suffered through," he said. "He kept clean."

Still, Anthony and his friends loved gangsta rap, mimicked the talk of gangsters and their style. "It's cool. I don't know why. It's just what everybody wears," Sanchez said.

The gang life had a certain appeal. It almost seemed synonymous with toughness and cool.

About 8:30 p.m. Jan. 21, Anthony went out with two friends, ages 15 and 13, to a hangout at a 7-Eleven. One friend was the brother of a known member of South Side Locos, but wasn't in the gang himself, several friends said. While sitting on the steps of an apartment, they were approached by two men. Without warning, one pulled out a gun and fired at the three teenagers, police said. Anthony died from two bullet wounds to the chest. The others were wounded.

Detectives have said the shooter probably confused Anthony for a rival gang member because of his outfit.

This week, those clothes were folded neatly and laid out on the Campos's dining room table, surrounded by white roses, candles, statues of Jesus and old photographs -- a family's memorial to a beloved boy.

His father said he spent the past few nights in Anthony's bed, crying himself to sleep.

"All we know is, he was at the wrong place at the wrong time," he said, his head in his hands.

"He's a quiet son. I just don't know what happened. He was just sitting there and then it just happened -- they shot him."

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