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Getting Out of Gangland
MILWAUKEE-- Beto Rangel's family came to Milwaukee from Chicago in the late 90's to keep him out of the gang life, but moving to the city's South Side didn't prevent that from happening.
The 31-year-old joined one of the city's most powerful gangs when he 14, though he prefers not to disclose which one.
"Growing up I wanted to be like everybody else and I grew up in a place where everybody was in a gang so that's exactly what I did," said Rangel.
He was shot at least 8 times. Through the years, he tried getting out but says it wasn't easy.
"Coming out to the same neighborhood, to the same friends I went right back in it, I lived a double life," said Rangel.
That all changed in 2003, when he was sent to prison for 5 years for being part of a deadly shooting.
Spending those years behind bars finally convinced him to turn his life around.
"Only those times when you've been in prison, or you've gotten shot or you're in a wheel chair or your buddies in prison for the rest of their life... only then do you think, I shouldn't be in this," said Rangel.
After leaving prison, he obtained a bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee and decided to start his own business.
Rangel also dedicates his time to share his experiences with others, especially teens. He's not sure if anyone will really listen, but says if it makes a difference in the life of one person, then it's all worth it.
"That's why I'm always smiling so happy no matter what... because I believe I should be dead or in prison for the rest of my life," said Rangel.