'Brick City' cast member shot dead in Newark, New Jersey

AP News
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Posted: Dec 08, 2015 2:17 PM

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A former gang member turned anti-violence activist who was featured in "Brick City," a Sundance Channel documentary series set in New Jersey's largest city, has been shot to death, authorities said Tuesday.

Darel Evans, 33, was shot in Newark late Monday night and was pronounced dead at the scene, Essex County prosecutors said. A motive for the shooting remains under investigation, they said.

Further details were not immediately released, including what type of weapon was used or how many assailants may have been involved.

Evans, a reformed Crips gang member known as Creep, was profiled in the Peabody award-winning TV series for turning his life around and for his relationship with a woman from the rival Bloods gang. The series, which chronicles city officials' and residents' efforts to improve Newark, first aired in 2009. The couple were also featured along with their children in a follow-up Pivot TV documentary series, "Jersey Strong."

"It's hard to extract yourself from the level of violence in urban America," said Mark Benjamin, who created both shows along with partner Marc Levin. "As hard as he tried, it caught up with him. He was writing, he was doing comedy and sketches and he had different jobs. He had different children from a few different women. He had lots of love to give. The street caught up with him."

Evans' story line focused on how he went from being an active gang member to a mentor for at-risk youth after he realized that his friends were either getting locked up in prison or dying, with no real option in between.

"The senseless violence of young black men dying on the streets of America is a sick, sick situation," Benjamin said. "It's a shame on America and I think he knew, Creep knew. I think politicians know that the only thing that's going to stop a bullet is a job. And short of that, this will continue, all this violence."

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This story has been corrected to show that the victim's last name is Evans, not Evan.