Ana Lizarraga Cause of Death: The Tragic Story of the Gang Lady

Ana Lizarraga was a gang counselor who dedicated her life to helping young people escape the cycle of violence and crime. She was also a technical adviser for the film “American Me”, which depicted the brutal reality of Latino prison gangs. But her life was cut short by a senseless act of violence that shocked the community. This is the tragic story of Ana Lizarraga, the Gang Lady.

Who was Ana Lizarraga?

Ana Lizarraga was born on June 23, 1942, in Boyle Heights, a predominantly Latino neighborhood in Los Angeles. She grew up in the Ramona Gardens housing project, where she witnessed the harsh realities of poverty, drugs, and gangs. She became involved with gangs herself, and was arrested several times for minor offenses. She also struggled with addiction and domestic violence.

But Lizarraga turned her life around when she joined Community Youth Gang Services, a nonprofit organization that provides counseling, education, and job training to at-risk youths. She became one of the top counselors, earning the respect and trust of the gang members she worked with. She was known as the Gang Lady, a nickname that reflected her authority and compassion.

Lizarraga also used her experience and knowledge to advise on the film “American Me”, which was directed by and starred Edward James Olmos. The film, released in 1992, chronicled the rise of the Mexican Mafia, a powerful prison gang that originated in the 1950s. Lizarraga had a small role in the film as a mother of a gang member. She also helped recruit former and current gang members to act as extras and consultants.

Lizarraga was proud of her work and hoped that the film would deter young people from joining gangs. She said in an interview, “I want them to see the reality of what prison life is like. I want them to see that there is no glamour in it.”

How did Ana Lizarraga die?

On May 13, 1992, Lizarraga was preparing to leave for Utah to attend her mother’s funeral. She was packing her van in her driveway in East Los Angeles, when two masked men approached her and shot her multiple times at close range. She died at the scene.

A police officer who witnessed the shooting called for backup and chased the suspects. One of them, Jose Gilbert Gonzalez, was arrested shortly after. He was a member of the Hazard Street gang, one of the gangs that Lizarraga had counseled. He had been released from prison a month earlier, after serving two years for weapon possession. The other suspect, who was never identified, escaped.

The motive for the killing was never established. Police said it was not gang-related, but rather an execution. Some speculated that it was connected to Lizarraga’s involvement with the film “American Me”, which had angered some members of the Mexican Mafia, who felt that it portrayed them in a negative and inaccurate light. Others suggested that it was a personal vendetta or a robbery gone wrong.

How did the community react to Ana Lizarraga’s death?

Lizarraga’s death was mourned by hundreds of people who attended her funeral at Santa Teresita Church in Boyle Heights. Among them were her family, friends, colleagues, and former gang members who credited her with saving their lives. They remembered her as a woman of respect, courage, and love, who devoted herself to helping others.

Lizarraga’s death also sparked outrage and calls for justice. Many demanded that the authorities find and prosecute the second suspect, who remained at large. Others called for more support and funding for gang prevention and intervention programs, such as the one that Lizarraga worked for. They argued that Lizarraga’s death was a result of the failure of the system to address the root causes of gang violence, such as poverty, racism, and lack of opportunities.

Lizarraga’s legacy lives on in the memories of those who knew her and in the impact of her work. She was buried at Resurrection Cemetery in Montebello, California, where her grave is marked by a simple plaque that reads: “Ana Lizarraga, The Gang Lady, 1942-1992”.

Doms Desk

Leave a Comment