Growing Kurdish gang activity flusters police By Jared Allen,
April 27, 2007

A brutal Donelson home invasion and an attack this week on a Hispanic student at Glencliff High School are not necessarily isolated incidents but a part of what Metro Police are describing as an up-tick in the visibility and activity of members of Nashville’s Kurdish Pride gang.

In February, according to police reports, three armed and masked men charged into a home in the 200 block of McGavock Pike – a predominately Hispanic neighborhood – and held up the eight men and one woman inside.

Before the assailants fled, one of them took the lone woman into a separate room and allegedly raped her, police said, adding that the victim was several months pregnant.

Last week, Sex Crimes and Hermitage Precinct detectives arrested a 17-year-old Kurdish teen and Glencliff High School student and charged him with the rape, after his DNA sample matched a sample taken from the female victim.

The teen, Zana Abdulgad Noroly, of 229 Shawn Drive, was a suspected member of the Kurdish Pride gang, Nashville’s predominant Kurdish gang. Six days after his arrest, Noroly committed suicide by hanging himself with his bed sheet while detained in the juvenile detention facility in the Juvenile Court complex

Retaliation suspected

On Tuesday, the Metro Police’s Gang Unit arrested three individuals and secured juvenile court petitions against two others – all of Kurdish decent and all individuals police identified as Kurdish Pride members – after the five males apparently charged into Glencliff high, pulled a Hispanic student out of his class, and attacked him the school hallway.

Arrested in the assault was an unidentified Kurdish juvenile, as well as Zarko Novakovic, 19, of Rychen Drive, and Chia Silveani, 19, of Leopole Road. Silveani is a former Glencliff student. Novakovic has never been associated with the school, police said.

Police said the attack appeared to be in suspected retaliation for disrespectful comments the Hispanic 17-year-old student made about Noroly.

The incident caused school administrators to place the school on lockdown for much of the day Tuesday.

School officials also cancelled a boys soccer game against Antioch High that Glencliff was scheduled to host that night.

The game was played Wednesday, but at Antioch and with a significant police presence, Metro Police officials confirmed.

Bad blood brewing?

Despite the recent activity at the hands of Kurdish gang members – all of it aimed at Hispanics in Nashville – Gang Unit specialists say they are not aware of any current conflicts between any Kurdish gang members and any Hispanic gangs or gang members.

Nor are police aware of any bad blood between the Kurds and the Hispanic community in general.

“They are not targeting the Hispanics, per se,” said Det. Mark Anderson, Metro’s lead investigator of Kurdish gangs. “In fact, it’s probably quite the opposite between the Hispanic and the Kurdish gangs. They actually get along pretty well.”

Anderson described the Donelson home invasion not as a gang-initiated crime or a crime to target a specific group, but as “more a crime of convenience or opportunity.”

And he noted that, while Hispanic, the 17-year-old Glencliff student who was assaulted by Kurdish gang members was himself not affiliated with any gang.

All that being said, however, the Kurdish gangs “appear to be becoming more active” around Nashville, Anderson said.

“I don’t know if they’re growing in numbers and I’d be hesitant to say they are,” Anderson said. “I think they’re just becoming more visible.”

So far, police have not seen spikes in any specific criminal activity at the hands of Kurdish gang members, aside from assaults.

“Right now, it appears to be fights,” Anderson said.

Schools take notice

Ralph Thompson, assistant superintendent of student services with Metro Nashville Public Schools, on Thursday said the interaction between Kurdish and Hispanic gang members on school property has lately “been volatile to some degree.”

At the same time, Thompson downplayed the danger Kurdish gang members pose to other Nashville students.

"There's no more concern about the increase in [Kurdish Pride] activity as it is in anyone else's. It's just their time right now. There's no pattern to it. It's them today, it could be the Bloods or the Crips tomorrow,” Thompson said.

Metro Police spokeswoman Kristen Mumford on Thursday said that the increased police presence at the Glencliff-Antioch soccer game was in response to the fight at Glencliff, not in response to any suspected animosity between Kurdish and Hispanic Metro students.

“Glencliff could have been playing anybody,” Mumford said. “It was just because of what had happened at Glencliff that they had some extra Flex [Unit] guys out there... There was no talk of rumblings or anything like that.”

But Anderson noted that, as Nashville gangs go, Kurdish Pride has been one of the hardest to get a handle on.

“They’re hard to read,” he said.

And, apparently, hard to find.

Noroly was the only person Police – including Gang Unit officers and Hermitage Precinct Detectives – were able to even identify as involved in the Donelson home invasion.

And authorities are still looking to make positive IDs and arrests of two of the five Kurdish Pride members who attacked the Glencliff student.

In addition to searching for those two individuals, police officials said they are still actively looking to develop additional persons of interest in connection with the home invasion.

Police have yet to comment on whether Noroly’s suicide note yielded any additional information that is proving helpful to their case. ... s_id=55882