MS-13 Gang Initiation Warning-Fiction!

Beware of a Car That Bumps You-It May be a Gang Members Who Wants to Shoot You-Fiction!

Summary of eRumor:

The email says that the notorious M-13 gang is conducting initiations.  A gang member driving a car “bumps” your car and when you pull over you get shot.

The Truth:

This eRumor started appearing in March, 2008.  It spread both by email and text messaging and in various parts of the country.

There is no evidence as yet from law enforcement that this threat actually exists although one police department has issued a warning about it.

Police departments and newsrooms at radio and television stations were flooded with calls about the threat.

Most messages said that the violence was being instigated by the Mara Salvatrucha or MS-13 (or MS13), a violent Central American gang.  

The story sounds like a variation on a widely circulated eRumor that claims that gang members, as part of an initiation, will drive at night with the lights of their cars off—daring anybody to flash headlights at them and then following and attacking any car that does.

Some of the areas where the reports have circulated:

Buffalo, New York-The Buffalo Police department actually issued a warning to the public, telling them not to pull over if bumped by another car and to call 911.  The Buffalo office of the FBI, however, said there was no evidence to support the threat and the next day Buffalo news media were asking whether the police had been buffaloed themselves by a rumor.

New York City-One of the versions of the eRumor is said to have come from an employee of the Riverhead Jail in Riverhead, New York.

North Carolina-Test messages flooded the state and prompted calls to law enforcement and media about an M-13 gang initiation ritual.  No actual incidents reported.

Florida-Text messages circulated warning of the threat.

Georgia-In April, 2008, warnings for Clayton and DeKalb County school systems.

Updated 3/28/08