Former Latin King member on a mission to save youth

2014-01-12T07:45:00Z 2014-03-25T15:37:29Z Former Latin King member on a mission to save youthDamian Rico damian.rico@nwi.com, (219) 545-3980 nwitimes.com
January 12, 2014 7:45 am  • 

HAMMOND | Former Latin King member Patrick Sabaitis still walks the streets of Maywood Avenue and Indiana Street just east of the Calumet Bridge, but now for a much different purpose.

Sabaitis used to take great pride in wreaking havoc and recruiting potentials in “his territory.” He now walks those same blocks trying to reverse his wrongdoings.

“I always thought I was tough and fearless,” said Sabaitis. “Now I realize that I was blind and vulnerable and I helped prey upon others with those same qualities that just needed to belong to something. I regret that every day.”

While incarcerated, Sabaitis vowed never to return to that “life of ruthlessness,” and decided to reach out to others to prevent them from going down the same destructive path.

Sabaitis put his ideas on paper and wrote the controversial “Undiscovered Domestic Terrorism: Former Evangelist For The Almighty Latin King Nation,” which reveals the various tactics gangs use to kill, steal, sell drugs and destroy neighborhoods.

“Most people don’t usually think of gangs as terrorists,” said Sabaitis. “But that is exactly what they are trained to do. We wish our military soldiers well and send them to other countries to fight the very things that the gangs are training their own soldiers to do with assault weapons right underneath our noses.”

Sabaitis said his book points to gang tactics, which include teaching its soldiers to make bombs, sell guns and drugs, lay out escape routes and allude law enforcement and rival gangs. He also founded the nonprofit Sabaitis Educational Institution, dedicated to “reclaiming our kids.”

Sabaitis has spent the last two years partnering with community churches, law enforcement agencies and families who want to help put an end to gang violence.

Coming from an abusive family life, Sabaitis now realizes that the void in his family life contributed to his need to be accepted.

“Parents come see me all the time and my question to them is always whether or not their kid wants out of the gang,” said Sabaitis. “One thing they have to realize is that it’s not going to happen unless they want out.”

Struggling with her middle school-aged son, single parent Stephanie Perez turned to Sabaitis.

“My son was expelled from school for taking a knife,” said Perez. “He was in big trouble and being heavily recruited by gangs and drugs. Patrick saved his life because he was taking a scary path.

“Patrick got him back in school,” said Perez. “He sat him down and got him on track by telling him everything he had been through and where it got him. He filled a void and held my son accountable for his actions.”

Sabaitis points to the importance of positive role models and quality parenting.

Sabaitis has helped dozens of youths and opened an SEI hotline, (888) 966-0850, to help with bullying, gangs and abuse. His website www.reclaimourkids.com provides information about his mission.

For more community stories, visit www.HammondCommunity.net and visit us on Facebook to stay connected. To share a story, email Hammond@nwi.com.

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