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Former gang member, two-time shooting survivor is now a business owner

Posted at 11:55 AM, Feb 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-13 23:31:29-05

MILWAUKEE — This is part of a four-part series on Milwaukee shooting survivors who have turned their lives around. See all the stories at TMJ4.com/EndViolenceMKE.

Ali Gray's son told him he was glad Gray went away to federal prison.

"He said I love you, and I wanted to be just like you, but when you left it gave me an opportunity to see what a different lifestyle was like," said Gray.

Gray, and other men the I-Team spoke with about gun violence in the city of Milwaukee, said children who get into violent behavior are often products of their environment.

Gray tells the I-Team he was a gang member who chose that life.

"I wanted to be a hunter. I wanted to be identified as a gladiator," said Gray. "So like they say you live by the sword, you die by the sword- it's a simple truth that becomes a reality to myself and so many others like me."

Because of how he grew up, Gray was repeatedly told he might not make it.

"When I became 18-years-old, I’d heard so many times, you’re not going to make it to see 18. I made it to see 19, I was grateful and then they said 'well, you ain’t going to make it to see 21' and so when I became 21 and at that point I thought maybe I’d be alright and then somebody said 'you ain't going to make it to see 25' and when I became 25 I was grateful so now they say when you become 40 you done made it past that hump," Gray said.

Former gang member, two-time shooting survivor is now a business owner_sot

Gray changed his life in federal prison. While there, he was given the task to write his own obituary.

"I didn't realize I was a dirty rotten dude until I couldn't say anything good about myself. That's when I made the pivot," said Gray.

"I was once a child. And when I was a child, I did childish things. But now I’m a man and I’ve put away my childish things. 16 I’m a business owner. I’m a home owner. I’m a servant of the most high God. And I’m your brother, so I’m with you 100%," he said.

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