"Aw, man, that's messed up. That's not right. That's my gun," the boy says. He eagerly shows off his gang tattoos. "Can you put, though, in my statements, it got my fingerprints and all that?"
The boy walks away, still complaining.
"So that his big homie doesn't go to jail, he wants to get arrested," Soto says. "And that's respect to this guy, 'cause he's still a little kid. He has to take care of his older homies."
Soto shows Valdez and Rivera the 9-millimeter gun, which sits in the trunk of their squad car. It's a nice-looking gun, the cops agree.
It's after a few traffic stops that, at 7:25 p.m., Valdez and Rivera spot Mally and his friend jaywalking near 114th Street.
The two admit to being members of a Bloods gang, affiliated with the Bounty Hunter Bloods in Nickerson Gardens. Mally's friend is a stocky 19-year-old with glazed eyes and a white muscle shirt. Mally stares at Valdez, or rather at his high-and-tight haircut.
"You were armed services?" he asks the cop. Marines, Valdez says.
"How about you guys? You military?" Valdez asks with a smile. Mally laughs, knowing he's being put on.
"Street soldier, huh?" Valdez says, drawing a laugh.
Valdez fought in Iraq in 2004. He remembers Marines delivering supplies to a hospital in Ramadi. As soon as they left, the doctors were killed by insurgents. He returned to the U.S. after being wounded by a roadside bomb while riding in a convoy.
Mally seems to sense that the cop saw some action.
"You didn't come back kind of shook up a little bit?" he asks Valdez.
"I'm fine, man. I'm fine," the cop says.
While Rivera returns to the squad car to check for any outstanding warrants on the pair, Valdez notes that the last shooting Mally mentioned involved the Westside Pirus. The victim was a boy with supposed connections to the Bounty Hunter Bloods.
"That's Blood on Blood right there," Valdez says.
"It don't matter no more," Mally says. "The youngsters done grew up and switched the game around."
They let Mally and his friend go with no jaywalking tickets.
As they drive through Nickerson Gardens' serpentine streets, Valdez and Rivera spot a speeding white Buick LeSabre. They chase it around a few turns before it stops at Success Avenue and 115th Street.