LAWON, Okla. - Bloods, Crips, Gangster Disciples, Latin Kings and vampires!? Believe it! The Oklahoma Gang Investigators Association has more than neighborhood street gangs to deal with.
At Wednesday's OGIA seminar, law enforcement learned about the underground world of occult crime. Guest speaker Don Rimer spent over three decades as police officer in Virginia, where he discovered crimes involving cult activity. Satanists committed some of these crimes, but some culprits acted as vampires.
Rimer is originally from Lawton and is a Cameron University graduate. He says he was always interested in vampires, but did not know that their practices existed in real life. He started researching cults, attending some ceremonies as a viewer, and now shares that information with law enforcement and educators nationwide, so they can combat cult crime.
Most of these officers have never dealt with gangs of vampires or other cults, but for Sheriff Ken Stradley, some of these images were nothing new.
"We've had some situations throughout the county that we came up on, where we felt and knew that they had had Satan worship," said Stradley.
"There are those in the vampire community, the satanic community, that believe that they need to do certain things to accomplish their goals, and that's when they commit crimes, using grave robbery or using other humans in unlawful ways," said Rimer.
Some of the people shown in Rimer's presentations are obviously Satanists, but others surprised the audience. As part of a ritual, a normal-looking man sodomized his infant daughter at his satanic church, and so did his fellow members.
"The Crips and the Bloods and the normal street activity...the street gangs, and that kind of violence...doesn't hold anything to what we're learning how big these topics are becoming," said Lawton Police Gang Investigator, Tiff Poff.
Rimer says movies like "Blade" and "Twilight" made vampirism cool, and people commit themselves to being vampires. Rimer shows the official vampire bible, and there are sanguine who legally practice the ritualist consumption of human blood by drinking each other's.
"If they do what is considered correct, they'll use needles or scalpels or razor blades with each other...consenting adults. But then there are others that will prey on people and take it illegally," said Rimer.
The problem for law enforcement is, unlike the Crips and Bloods, these groups usually hide their activity. There is no graffiti, little advertising...other than clothing which is sometimes overlooked as just being weird.
"They think it's just people trying to get attention. The appearance is in beginning stages, and they don't realize it leads to violence, and murder, and suicide and things like that," said Poff.
"We've had cases where people...acting out their werewolf fantasies and vampire fantasies...have killed and maimed and harmed other people," said Rimer.
Not all occult-like behavior is criminal. The word occult means hidden and Rimer talked to the officers about pagans and wiccans...groups that have worship ceremonies but do not commit crime. He taught about how to identify which groups are good and which should seem suspicious.