Pomona 12th Street (P12), also commonly known as Pomona 12th Street Sharkies are a Mexican-American street gang located in South Pomona, California. They originated in the 1940s, named after 12th Street, a residential street located between Garey Ave and S Reservoir St. South of Mission Blvd and North of Philadelphia Blvd, with over 200 active members.
The 12th Street adopted “Sharkies” during the 1950s, which is derived from Sharkies Park (also known as Madison Park). In 1972, the park was built with federal funds to provide neighborhood kids with alternatives to gang violence, but it backfired by becoming a playground for the 12th street Gang. Not to be confused with the Hillside 12th Street, a Latino gang based in Hillsboro, Oregon.
In The News
In April 21, 2004, the Pomona 12th Street made headlines after a 16-year-old Valentino Mitchell Arenas shot and killed 35-year-old Officer Thomas “Tom” Steiner (California Highway Patrol) in front of the Pomona Courthouse. On April 21, Officer Steiner was in the process of crossing the street after testifying in court regarding five traffic citation related cases.
16-year-old Arenas drove up and open fire, striking the California Highway Patrol officer twice in the chest and once in the head. Steiner was transported to Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center where he died several hours later from the gunshot wound to the head. Valentino Mitchell Arenas, stated that the shooting was an attempt to gain credibility (stripes) with the Pomona 12th Street Sharkies.
The killing of Officer Thomas Steiner, has touched the hearts of family, friends and law officers across the nation. Arnold Schwarzenegger, governor of California, ordered Capitol flags flown at half-staff in the slain officer’s honor. Officer Thomas Steiner left before 3-year-old daughter and a grieving wife. Valentino Arenas was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. He received an additional 25-years-to-life sentence for using a firearm.
Allies And Rivals
The Pomona 12th Street Gang are known for their past rivalries with the Cherrieville and the Sur Olive as well as the South Side Village Crips. The Cherrieville and the Sur Olive, both street gangs descendant from the 12th Street resulting in multiple homicides in the Southern region of Pomona.