Thrill Killers

All over urban Texas, young thugs are committing a vicious new kind of crime: Find an unsuspecting victim, rob him, then shoot him just for fun. And most of the time, they’re getting away with it.

AROUND MIDNIGHT ON JULY 1, 1995, JUAN CHAVEZ and Hector Fernandez hopped into a Chevrolet Caprice they’d stolen from a Greyhound bus maintenance center and headed north toward the apartment complexes of Northwest Dallas—terrific territory for ganking. The latest inner-city fad, ganking is essentially what used to be called a stickup, only these days the victim frequently, and needlessly, ends up dead. Chavez and Fernandez spent a lot of time ganking that summer, if not always to turn a handsome profit then for the sheer sport of pulling a gun on some unsuspecting stranger, taking what they wanted, and putting a few bullets in him.

Chavez, then 27, was out on parole after serving seven years in

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