By Monica Alonzo
By Stephen Lemons
By Jason P. Woodbury
By Dulce Paloma Baltazar Pedraza
By Ray Stern
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By Monica Alonzo
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"He works hard for what he has. He works hard every day," Manuel Padilla says.
Police say there is no doubt Tomas Padilla is a major player in Eastside LCM. Tomas Padilla, whose gang moniker is "Quati," was unavailable for an interview early this week. Police records indicate he has declared his affiliation in the gang at least five times since June 1998.
Manuel Padilla was born and raised in the house he now lives in with his wife and children at 1414 South 14th Street. He says police have exaggerated the violent nature of Eastside LCM gang members, making them appear worse than they really are.
"These kids that they took in [arrested], they weren't doing anything," Manuel Padilla says before adding "maybe one or two of them."
He says the neighborhood is safe, that he doesn't worry about his children going to the store and that "you never heard of anybody getting hurt, or kids molested."
Padilla didn't mention that two young children were nearly killed in his front yard during a 1996 New Year's Day drive-by shooting.
"Bullets missed the children, but a bullet did strike the pickup truck owned by Manuel Padilla," according to an affidavit by Detective Jeffrey Nolder that is attached to the civil injunction served on Tomas Padilla.
Manuel Padilla declined to discuss the drive-by shooting or another one later that month -- police say both were perpetrated by LCM rivals -- other than to say "that it was a misunderstanding."
As for Noe Rosales, his run from the law was brief. Early the next morning, October 9, Rosales turned up at a nightclub on East McDowell with several other Eastside LCM members, police say.
Rosales and his mates got into an argument with members of the rival Ninth Street gang. The dispute continued outside when one of the Ninth Streeters allegedly pulled a gun and shot an LCM gang member in the face and grazed another man, according to detective Derek Stephenson.
One of the officers who responded to the shooting recognized Rosales and took him into custody. Besides the misdemeanor warrants, Rosales was also charged with resisting arrest, assault and escape.
He was booked into the Maricopa County jail -- presumably joining his mother, who wasn't released until about 3 that morning.
See previous stories in the Hard Core series here.