Former leader of Vice Lord Nation and reformed advocate of anti-violence, Willie Lloyd died Monday at the age of 64. He relocated with his family to Minnesota a few years ago and retreated to a quiet and solemn life. No further information was offered at press time.
Lloyd joined the Unknown Vice Lords, a faction based along 16th Street in the Lawndale neighborhood. He soon became the faction’s leader and recruited thousands of followers. He proclaimed himself “King of Kings” and stated that he was the leader of the entire Vice Lord Nation. However, his tenure was interrupted by a prison term for his part in the murder of a police officer in Iowa.
During his incarceration, Lloyd wrote “The Amalgamated Order of Lordism”, a 61-page manifesto on the Vice Lord command structure in the prisons and on the streets. He was incarcerated in 1971 until his release on parole in 1986, then was back in prison a year later on a weapons conviction until another parole in 1992. In 1992, he was involved in a protracted gang war over control of the Vice Lord Nation, involving kidnapping and the murder of rival members’ children. Law enforcement intensified its efforts to remove Lloyd from the street, and from 1994 to 2001, he was again incarcerated for weapons violations.
Willie Lloyd quit the Vice Lords after his release from prison, and became an outspoken critic of gang life.
After his release from federal prison in 2002, Lloyd decided to retire from his life of crime and attempt to earn a legitimate living as a mediator for gang members. He began collaborating with Chicago’s School of Public Health, where he worked with the Chicago Project for Violence. He also involved himself with Cease Fire, a program that provides gang mediation efforts while mentoring at a Westside church.
In addition, Lloyd agreed to lecture incoming freshmen at DePaul University’s Discover Chicago program on the dangers of gang life. He would take sociology students on a field trip to give them an inside look at gangs in their natural habitat and discussed the pathology of crime. When parents learned of the arrangement, however, angry phone calls to school administrators shut the program down.
In August 2003, Lloyd was shot six times while walking his dogs in Garfield Park in Chicago. He survived the attack, but was paralyzed from the neck down this was the third assassination attempt on Lloyd. He was paralyzed from the neck down due to injuries from the shooting. Although rumors swirled around that Lloyd still wanted to collect a “tax” from the Vice Lords as its leader, even though he had allegedly left gang life.