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*Raymond Washington was born on this date in 1953. He was a Black gangster known as the founder of the Crips Street Gang.
Raymond Lee Washington was born in Los Angeles, California, the youngest of four sons to Violet Samuel and Reginald Washington. His parents separated when he was two years old, and his mother and stepfather raised him. He grew up on East 76th Street, between Wadsworth Avenue and Central Avenues in Los Angeles' South Central. Washington had a half-brother, Derard S. Barton, from his mother's second marriage.
According to neighbors of Washington, he liked fighting and was constantly in trouble with the Los Angeles Police Department. Washington was repeatedly expelled from schools resulting in frequent transfers, attending Locke High School, John C. Fremont High School, an alternative school attached to Washington Preparatory High School, and Fairfax High School near West Hollywood.
In the late 1960s, gang involvement increased youth crime in Los Angeles, particularly in the three housing projects located in Watts: Imperial Courts, Nickerson Gardens, and Jordan Downs. Older Black street gangs were gone because of the Black Panther Party and the U.S. Organization. The absence of the old gangs saw numerous new youth gangs begin to form in their place. Washington joined a local street gang called The Avenues, led by another teenager named Craig Munson. At age 15, Washington beat up Munson's younger brother in a fistfight. In late 1969, Washington organized his gang called the Baby Avenues, recruiting a group of other neighborhood youths in South Central.
In 1971, Washington approached Stanley "Tookie" Williams. Washington had heard of Williams through a mutual friend, who had informed Washington of Williams' toughness. Washington proposed to Williams they form a confederation of the gangs under their influence in their respective areas and another teenage gang leader called Mac Thomas in Compton to form a single large street gang. Williams accepted Washington's proposal, uniting the West Side gangs under his influence as the West Side Crips. The Crips established themselves as the largest street gang in Los Angeles, increasing numbers and territory as their influence spread across low-income black neighborhoods. Washington, Williams, and Thomas effectively controlled criminal activity in these areas and became the dominant crime bosses. Many of the original Crip leadership were imprisoned or dead within a few years.
In 1974, 21-year-old Washington was arrested for second-degree robbery and sentenced to five years imprisonment at the Deuel Vocational Institution in Tracy, California. Washington was unpopular among the prison population. He recruited young Black inmates into the Crips, much to the disapproval of established black prison groups like the Black Muslims and the Black Guerrilla Family.
In 1976, Washington was paroled from prison and returned to Los Angeles. Reportedly, Washington was shocked to discover that the violent war between the Crips, Bloods, and Hispanic gangs had escalated to the point that fighting using firearms, as opposed to fist fighting, was now normal. According to law enforcement, former gang members, and close friends, Washington had realized he no longer held influence in the gang, Washington started to distance himself from the Crips.
At around 10:00 p.m. on August 9, 1979, 25-year-old Washington was murdered in a drive-by shooting on East 64th Street and South San Pedro Street in South Central Los Angeles. He was rushed to Morningside Hospital, where he died while undergoing emergency surgery. No suspects have been arrested, and Washington's murder remains unsolved.