STOCKTON, CA - Manuel Martinez didn't count on, but he doesn't mind, the attention he's received since becoming the face of an anti-violence message produced by News10.
"I am proud of it. You should try to do the right thing -- do something for yourself and your family," said Martinez.
Martinez has appeared often on Comcast channels in Stockton, admitting he'd made criminal mistakes in his past. He then concludes the public service announcement saying, "Get out while you can."
Martinez laughed, describing how often people recognize him and ask, "Aren't you the dude on TV?".
Another man helped News10 produce a second message. Anthony Ruiz also admits coming from a life of crime and he encourages people to "help bring peace to your neighborhood."
The announcements were produced as Stockton was experiencing a huge increase of deadly violence. They began airing shortly after News10 also produced a town hall at the University of the Pacific last fall to discuss solutions to the city's serious problems.
Martinez said he's not sure men in their early 20s will be influenced by his TV message. He does think it'll have an impact on much younger boys.
"That's what I did it for, the younger ones," said Martinez who is looking for work, and still trying to get his high school diploma. He said any frustration he might feel doesn't match his desire to help steer other young men away from a life of crime.