Former gang member now serves as positive role model for community

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Ray Duggan was shot five times by rival gang members in 2004. Now, he works to lower the number of gang-related homicides in Providence – a statistic he was almost counted toward.

Duggan, 34, a former gang member, could remain paralyzed for the rest of his life from the ordeal over a decade ago.

He is a part of the Nonviolence Streetworkers Program, which provides positive role models for at-risk youth.

“I have no hate, no animosity toward the people that shot me,” Duggan told Eyewitness News on Monday. “I was trying to kill them, the same way they were trying to kill me.”

Providence Police have seen less gang-related murders recently.

In 2013, there were six gang-related homicides. The number went up in 2014 to eight homicides but dropped to three in 2015. Last year, Providence had zero gang-related deaths.

Duggan said he was shocked by the drop because he thought many kids still wanted to join gangs today.

According to police, one contributing factor was that many gang members have been arrested over the last few years.

Major David Lapin said that within the last few years, the PD’s gang unit has been sharing more information about gang activity with other members of the department.

“If we know there’s a feud between two rivals, we’ll know what areas to look at. And we’ll know what cars to look at, what people to look at, so we can put our tunnel vision in play there, and it’s absolutely working,” Lapin said.

The Providence PD and community groups are now trying to reach out to vulnerable kids before they join gangs.

“When I was growing up, we only had 5 or 6 gangs. Now we have 15, 16 gangs,” Duggan explained.

As a part of his job, Duggan said he stresses the potential consequences like ending up in jail, or being killed and tries to provide alternatives.

“It’s trying to figure out who’s who, who’s running it, let them think they’re running the gang, but slowly trying to find them jobs is what’s helped us dismantling the gang,” Duggan said.

Watch the video below for an extended interview with Ray Duggan.