Rogersville police say boy beaten for refusing to join gang

Jeff Bobo • Jan 30, 2008 at 12:00 AM

ROGERSVILLE — It isn’t exactly the Bloods and the Crips, but the beating Tuesday of a Rogersville Middle School student, allegedly by two boys claiming to be members of the R@R (Rock@Roll) gang, has reignited the Hawkins County Juvenile Court’s awareness of potential gang problems.

The beating reportedly occurred around 1:30 p.m. in a RMS boys restroom and may have been captured partially by school video surveillance. Rogersville police and juvenile court officials will be viewing the video to determine if it can be used as evidence.

According to police and school sources, the victim had been asked by two boys ages 12 and 13 to join their club, and to do so would only require a handshake.

After the handshake the victim was allegedly told by the two boys that he’d joined their gang called R@R and would be required to dress a certain way and follow certain directions.

When the boy said he didn’t want to be a part of their gang, the two other boys allegedly beat him up. School officials said the victim was taken to the hospital for treatment of bumps and bruises, and his parents later reported to the school that the boy had a broken nose.

Rogersville police are investigating the incident, and charges are pending. Although the two suspects ages 12 and 13 hadn’t been charged as of Wednesday, the parents of the victim had been to juvenile court Wednesday aggressively seeking to pursue charges.

A juvenile court official said Wednesday that each of the two suspects will likely be charged with felony aggravated assault. Court officials added that a subsequent investigation has revealed a list of 10 names of boys alleged to be members of this gang.

The gang is called “R@R” — reportedly the initials for “Rock @ Roll.”

The two boys allegedly involved in the beating had been assigned to the alternative school as of Wednesday, and there was no information available regarding any action being taken against the other names on the R@R list.

Hawkins County Schools Middle School Supervisor Jim Hageman said Wednesday he is unaware of any gang-related graffiti problems at RMS or any other county middle schools. Hageman added that prior to the beating Tuesday he was unaware of any gang problem at any school in Hawkins County.

Hawkins County Juvenile Court Judge James Taylor said Wednesday the issues surrounding the R@R incident have definitely caught his attention.

“It’s not the Bloods and the Crips, but two boys who allegedly claim to be gang members have allegedly broken the nose of another boy,” Taylor said. “If the gang had only been formed for 24 hours and that’s all they ever did, that still deserves a serious response. I want juvenile court to do its part to keep our schools free of gang-related activity including crimes of violence against other students, crimes of theft and drug-related crimes.”

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