A Georgia cop who served in the military in the Middle East before he returned home to Stone Mountain, Georgia, to become a police officer lived a double life as a police officer and a hitman for a violent gang, federal authorities say.
DelKalb County police officer Vancito Gumbs, 27, was convicted on a single count of RICO conspiracy involving murder last week.
He now faces decades in prison when his sentencing is determined at his hearing in August, which comes just a month after he’s scheduled to also appear in state court in an unrelated charge for breaking a suspect’s jaw.
Four other alleged gang members were also convicted on various crimes including carjacking, attempted robbery and racketeering, according to the Daily Beast.
“The defendants in this case were each responsible for horrific violent crimes,” United States Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak said announcing the convictions on Monday.
“It should give the community comfort to know that justice has been done and that each defendant faces a long prison sentence in a federal facility,” he added.
“Gangs like this cannot hide behind a veil of performing community service while at the same time encouraging crimes such as murder and robbery.”
Prosecutors say Gumbs worked as a DelKalb County cop at the same time he worked as an executioner and hitman for the gang.
Authorities say Gumbs allegedly tipped off fellow gang members, including Kevin Clayton the man police claim is the “Chief Enforcer” for the state of Georgia, about a police raid planned by the department.
In October 2015, Gumbs faced an internal investigation that stemmed from a citizen complaint stating he used illegal street drugs.
“I’m saddened to learn one of our former officers was involved in this. There are bad apples in every organization — this was a bad apple,” DelKalb County Police Chief James Conroy said about the ordeal.
In August 2015, Gumbs allegedly admitted to executing people as a “hitman” for the Gangster Disciples, according to his indictment.
In the fall of 2015, the then officer Grumbs traveled with Clayton to take care of “some business,” according to prosecutors.
A month later in September, Clayton reportedly told Gumbs that co-defendant named Donald Glass was his “right hand guy” and informed him the Hate Committee was a group within the gang’s structure.
Clayton asked Gumbs to inform him about which cops were investigating on Flat Shoals Rd. in DelKalb County, according to the indictment.
Gumbs reportedly replied police were responding to a shooting and alerted Clayton to avoid a sports bar he often frequented because the department was planning to conduct a raid.
Clayton reportedly asked Gumbs to bring him a gun a few hours later according to an affidavit.
However, it’s not clear in court records whether or not Gumbs ever provided Clayton with any weapons later that day.
A federal jury in Atlanta heard testimony over the last few weeks detailing the gang’s alleged pattern of violence and other crimes including extortion, drug trafficking, robbery, bank and wire fraud, attempted murder as well as the murder of 12 people.
One victim was shot over a dozen times because he declined to participate in a “community clean-up,” prosecutors allege.
Another victim was gunned down as his 4-year-old daughter and family walked home from a convenience store.
“The Gangster Disciples maintain a hierarchical structure on the belief that the enterprise will be ready to step in and run the United States should its government fail,” the indictment stated, adding that the group’s national leader still communicates with gang leaders on the outside from prison.
Gumb’s attorney Roger C. Wilson said Gumb’s was not involved in operations for the Gangster Disciples and argued he was implicated in the crimes after sending text messages to a woman in an effort to impress her.
Wilson pointed out Gumb’s name only appeared five times within the indictment, which contained more than 200 paragraphs.
“The references to him are minimal not only in number but also in content and significance. They are cursory and very imprecise. It appears that most of them are based on hearsay statements offered to government agents by his disgruntled, ex-girlfriend,
Wilson argued in a motion to reconsider Gumb’s pretrial detention.
Wilson says Gumbs admitted to being a hit man and to traveling with Clayton to take “care of business” for the gang, but says the text messages came as a result of “youthful, foolish” texts to a woman he was dating — a woman who became an “extremely bitter ex girlfriend” just before the indictment.
Gumbs allegedly asked his girlfriend at the time if she thought “God would forgive him for the killings.”
“It appears, and it is expected that testimony will show, that almost the entirety of these allegations in the Indictment regarding Mr. Gumbs came from his ex-girlfriend . . . who apparently approached the FBI to try to provide damning information to them about Mr. Gumbs,” A footnote in Wilson’s motion argued.
The government responded, arguing “the evidence against Gumbs is strong” and stated Gumbs hasn’t offered any new facts proving otherwise.
“His membership and association with the Gangster Disciples and his conduct in connection with that association is confirmed to a large extent by this on words, including text messages and wire intercepts,” United States attorney Kim S. Dammers wrote in response.
Wilson told the Daily Beast in an interview that his client plans to appeal the verdict and that Gumbs is far from a hitman or executioner, much less a member of the Gangster Disciples.
“There was no allegation that he committed any substantive crime or attempted to, or solicited anyone,” he said, explaining that authorities never presented any evidence linking Gumb to any of his co-defendants, aside from Clayton, who was a community activist, youth baseball organizer and described as a “man about town.”
“Because he was affiliated with someone the government argued was in the Gangster Disciples, it’s essentially guilt by association.”
In addition to the indictment involving conspiracy to commit murder, Gumbs faces criminal charges in state court, as well as a federal civil rights lawsuit filed in Georgia, after former suspect James Leon Woods spent days in the hospital from a broken jaw, which he says he suffered after an encounter with Gumbs.
Gumbs also faces a felony aggravated battery charge and a charge for violation of oath by a public officer for beating Woods.
Gumb’s arraignment was rescheduled for July 10, court records show.