Jason Turnbow couldn't imagine living outside of a gang until he went to prison.
Friday morning he told the Board of Pardons and Parole that he was beginning to live his own life."I've realized I don't need to impress people all the time," he said. "I just have to take care of myself. I just want a job and to be on my own, instead of with people I have to constantly impress.
"When you come from gangs, you think you've got to be in them. Once you get out of it, you see you don't need them."
Turnbow was convicted of aggravated assault for shooting at an unmarked police car that was following him and some friends. He received a two-year gang enhancement requiring that he serve at least three years of his five-year sentence.
He told board member Curtis Garner that he thought the car was being driven by rival gang members.
"We ran a red light to see if they were cops," said Turnbow, 18. "They didn't pull us over so we said, `They ain't cops.' "
When the car continued to follow them, Turnbow and another teen each fired at the car. No one was injured in the shooting.
Garner quoted Turnbow's juvenile probation officer who said, "(Turnbow) definitely hates police officers and is a very angry young man."
Turnbow said he didn't hate police officers, but he was angry.
"The death of my brother, growing up without a father, stuff like that (made me angry)," he said.
Garner told Turnbow he was lucky no one was hit in the shooting.
"You've been a young man that's been on a collision course with trouble," Garner said. "Are you comfortable here?"
"No," Turnbow said. "It's life. I would rather not be here, but I did the crime so I gotta do the time."
Garner took Turnbow's case under advisement.