Brutal truths about gang life: “These guys would wring your neck and then have a cup of soup right after taking you out. We were predators.”

By Lisa Finn, Patch Staff | Feb 18, 2019 2:42 pm ET | Updated Feb 19, 2019 8:26 am ET

SUFFOLK COUNTY, NY — For Casey Diaz, the days are now peaceful, spent working hard at his sign business and as a youth pastor in Los Angeles. But the present is a far cry from the past, when he was a violent gang leader whose hands were left bloodied after dozens of brutal crimes and attacks — many with a screwdriver.

Diaz has written an eye-opening book, “Shot Caller,” which details in horrifying clarity the shocking truth about what it’s like to be on the inside of life as a gang member — with an eye toward helping to educate how society can begin to understand and “stop the madness” as gang violence continues to escalate across Long Island and nationwide, and gangs including MS-13 inflict blood-curdling carnage.

And it’s a truth that needs to be shared, he believes, in order to stem the violent tide sweeping the nation: According to the Federal Bureau of Investigations, there are 33,000 gangs criminally active in the United States today; two out of five gang members are under the age of 18.

In his book, Diaz, 47, who now lives in Burbank, CA, depicts his life in painful detail: Arriving in the United States from El Salvador with his parents, who were not married, when he was two years old, he ended up living in poverty-ridden downtown LA. Living with a man he was was a violent and abusive father and a mother who worked long hours and two or three jobs to keep food on the table, Diaz found himself finding solace and the family he yearned for — on the streets.

His family, he said, settled in the Rampart District around MacArthur Park in 1974: “It wasn’t the best neighborhood, but it wasn’t the bad gang situation that it was in the 80s.”

Read the full article on

Available NOW!

Order your copy of this powerful book today!

Contact Casey

Casey Diaz is a dynamic and emotional speaker with a passion to share his experiences as a gang leader and how his life changed in prison.

He is available for interviews, speaking engagements, or general questions.

Phone: 818 | 841 | 5851

Social Media

Contact Casey and help spread the word of his amazing story!