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'I'm Giving Them Jesus': Former Gang Leader Brings Life to Communities He Once Terrorized 

'I'm Giving Them Jesus': Former Gang Leader Brings Life to Communities He Once Terrorized  Read Transcript

- Life in Leisure City,Florida was anything but easy

for young, Rene Level Martinez.

- I grew up without a dad.

My mom was in the streets.

My mom was into the santeria which is like

a form of witchcraft.

Sacrificed an animal all over me as a kid.

And I started seeing demons.

They haunted me my whole life.

- [Narrator] At age 12, that darkness led

to a life of crime withLevel breaking into homes,

stealing guns, and gettinginvolved in drive-by shootings.

In 1990, he started a gangknown as the Latin Syndicates.

- We had almost 300 members

and feds was investigating us.

Half of my homies are in prison.

Half of them are dead.

- [Narrator] Level recallsstaring death in the face

numerous times.

- I remember the time thegun jammed in my face.

I remember the time thebullet grazed my head.

The other time the bulletwhistled by my ear.

The times I was running through a backyard

and they were shooting at me.

All the times I got shot at.

All the times I was half dead,

but I was still alive.

- [Narrator] Life changedsomewhat after Level became a Dad.

In an attempt to betterprovide for his family,

he pursued bare knuckle fighting

and mixed martial arts.

- I became a professional fighter

as my journey went on in life.

I was always good at fighting.

I started fighting bareknuckle with Kimbo Slice.

I was beating everybody.

We were betting money in the backyard.

Bare knuckle and winning.

My name got so big that Telemundo came

and they offered me a pro contract.

I went to Nicaragua.

Beat three-time worldchampion Ricardo Mayorga.

- [Narrator] Yet, thosesuccesses in the ring

didn't fill the void he felt inside.

- I had the money, I had the fame.

I was doing the gangstermusic, but I was empty inside.

- [Narrator] By this time, hismother had become a Christian

and began praying for her son.

In 2016, her prayers were answered

when Level had a supernaturalexperience with God.

- It's like he showed me my whole life

in a matter of like five seconds.

I just got on my knees, Istarted crying out to God.

When he spoke to me, I knew that

if I didn't surrender, Ifelt like I was gonna die.

- I am here in a communitythat was once terrorized

by Rene Level Martinez as the head

of the Latin Syndicate gang.

Today, Level is back here, but with a very

different message.

- So, it's been like two anda half years since that day.

Since that day, I've beengoing to prison, to project,

to the juvenile facilities, to the schools

for a different reason.

I came back to the streetsI used to terrorize,

but now I'm giving em life now.

Giving em Jesus, you feel me?

Before it was death,now I'm giving em Jesus.

- [Narrator] Level nowministers to former gang members

and is often seen baptizing people

in some of the city'sroughest neighborhoods.

- I'm telling em you'refixing to be baptized

in the name of Jesus Christfor the remission of sins

and you shall receive thegift of the Holy Ghost.

Acts 2:38, and that's what I preach.

I almost died on many different occasions,

but for some reason I'm still here.

- [Narrator] Meanwhile,a documentary called

The Warrior Level has beenmade about Level's life.

Churches are using itas an evangelistic tool

and according to the former gang leader,

lives are being transformed.

- When a lot of people come toChrist 'cause of my testimony

and I'm just honored to be used by God.

It's a privilege and ahonor to be used by Him.

You know, 'cause Hecould've chose anybody else.

I could've been one of thempeople that died early,

but I'm still here and I'm grateful.

- [Narrator] Charlene Aaron, CBN News,

Leisure City, Florida.


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