Los Angeles police and experts on gang tattoos said they can't recall another time that a criminal has tattooed such a literal depiction of a crime.
"From the research that we've published on tattoos, this is very bizarre and unique," said George Knox, director of the National Gang and Crime Center. "It's bizarre because it is obviously somebody that is not trying to hide their crime and most offenders do. It's unique because it's not something that we would normally find in a gang tattoo."
Knox said that tattoos by gang members are often a rite of a passage.
"They typically occur early in their career. As they gain status or rise to a position of power, they add tattoos," Knox said. "They're designed to intimidate somebody."
For those gang members who decide to turn around their lives, tattoo removal is often key, he added.
"One of the ways to really try and help them get back on the right path again is to get those tattoos off on their face and arms so they can have a job where they're dealing with the public," Knox said.