CLEVELAND - An unidentified young man has spent most of his life in a gang dealing with guns. We chose not to use his name to protect his identity. He has been shot, committed crimes and been to prison.
"I was drinking, smoking weed, in that life that I was living I thought that everything in that life was right," said the former gang member.
His life was spinning out of control when he landed in jail. However, it was not until his favorite aunt died that his life changed.
He was in a prison cell and could not attend her funeral.
"I just got on my knees and I cried from that day on. I just was looking up above. I felt him and it was like couldn't nobody come between me and him," said the young man as he spoke of his relationship with God.
Now he has made it a mission to talk about what he believes is the root cause of violence in urban communities: guns and gangs and how high-powered guns get in.
"Basically it come through the trains and it be loads of guns. Not no anybody can go on the trains and get guns," he said. "It's gotta be an inside job. So basically what I'm saying is it's very organized."
The young man said the guns are written off as insurance losses then once the guns get on the streets it's mayhem.
"Theres one distributor - he have a truck van, probably a rental van or probably an Astro van. He pull it out, display all he got," he said.
Once the guns are distributed or after a train is hit, destruction happens.
"Oh it's show time, show time. Now we're about to go shoot at these dudes, we didn't have no guns we're about to over here and wet these dudes up - it becomes war," he said.
Next comes death, prison, or maybe something worse.
"When you get a felony and don't have no diploma you're like a nobody. It's like you're the bottom of a shoe, just cement."