Ex-gang member, now filmmaker: 'Crime does not pay' - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Ex-gang member, now filmmaker: 'Crime does not pay'

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

Finding the right path in life can be hard, especially for young teens. Gang life can be an outlet for many looking to belong.

One former gang member says he left that world behind in search of a better life. The gang took years of his life and now he's trying to take it back as a budding filmmaker.

Terrence Davis, 26, was once a leader of one of the biggest gangs in Columbia.

"I loved gang life, just to be honest," said Davis. "It was negative stuff. As I got older, I realized that obviously that's the negative stuff you shouldn't do that. But during the time, I loved being in a gang. I love my brothers."

Davis became a Crip at 13 and created the 'Insane Crips' a few years later.

"Being in a gang in Columbia was scarier than most people thought because one week you'll be hanging with your best friend. Now two weeks later, he's shooting at you. For real. He's really shooting at you," said Davis.

He grew up entrenched in the gang world in Columbia.

"It would be shoot-outs," said Davis. "This person gets shot, that person gets shot. And if someone shoots my homie, I gotta go shoot two of your homies."

Davis sold drugs. He lived a fast life with women, money, cars, guns.

"At the time, gang violence was really running rampant and nobody was safe," said Davis. "Nobody was safe."

His friends were in deep too.

"In the gang life you lose everything you gained," said ex-gang member Alonzo Canzater. "Nothing prospers. It be good in the beginning, but in the end, it will be destroyed."

Heyward Yarborough and Davis got out of gangs around the same time.

"Go to church, play basketball, do some sports. Take your behind home. Go home to your parents," said Yarborough.

It's advice Yarborough says he wishes he took.

"I was stupid for a long time," said Yarborough. "I kept digging a hole bigger and bigger."

Getting out was a process. It was an expensive process for Davis, who had to clean up his record. But none of the gang members listened to their parents or anyone else.

"Crime does not pay," said Davis. "All the money I ever made selling drugs, I had to pay back in lawyer fees."

He got tired of his lifestyle and has since made documentaries chronicling his life on the streets of Columbia. His latest film, Colors: Banging in South Carolina comes out in 2014.

"It's a combination of my life in a gang and the lifestyle of gang members," said Davis.

The love of the game faded and the path was short-lived.

"I lost friends to prison, to death, disloyalty," said Davis.

A change had to come and Davis says everyday he strives to be better.

"When you really try to make a change in your life, it's bigger than just you," said Davis.

Davis says getting out was a process because quitting the gang meant quitting his best friends. Many of them ended up in jail, some died, and others turned on him.

But he went to school and is working on a better life and never forgetting where he came from.

Copyright 2013 WIS. All rights reserved.

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