Stockton gang survivor helps others avoid his mistakes

STOCKTON - Seeing his two older siblings die in gang-related violence didn't steer Daniel Bobian away from that lifestyle. He was so soured, he embraced it.

"My sister was murdered when I was 13. I was on the fence of being a good guy or bad guy. When my brother was murdered, when I was 17, I didn't care about life anymore," Bobian explained. "I didn't see a tomorrow. I didn't see anything other than my death or going to prison."

Bobian is now 30, married and employed. But that's after serving 12 years in prison for armed robbery. That's where he finally remembered and processed the anti-gang message given to him as a kid by a member of the city's Peacekeeper group.

"I cried. I broke down and said I don't want to do this," Bobian recalled. "I'm 23 years old and don't want to do this the rest of my life. I don't want to be in prison the rest of my life. Don't want to be the person that people say 'he's a failure.'"

Bobian now works alongside the people from Peacekeepers, talking with young people to help them avoid his mistakes. At a recent Ceasefire gathering of known criminals, he was called in for the "this is your last chance to get out" discussion. Bobian worked with a young man who seemed content with his lifestyle choice.

"We're sitting there going back and forth and I said, 'you know something, I care.' He goes, 'what?' I said, 'I care, I care about you man. I don't want to see you die, don't want to see you in prison. I'm telling you from experience, it's not what you think.'"

Bobian thinks he made a difference in that young man's life, just as a Peacekeeper made a difference in his life years ago.


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