Larry Hoover, also known as “King Larry,” was born on November 30, 1950, in Jackson, Mississippi. His parents moved the family north to Chicago, Illinois, when Hoover was 4 years old. By age 13, he was on the streets with a group called the Supreme Gangsters, engaging in petty crimes such as theft and mugging. His criminal activity soon evolved to shootings and assault.
Hoover ascended to a leadership role as the Supreme Gangsters grew, and he later joined forces with rival gang kingpin David Barksdale to form the Black Gangster Disciple Nation. In 1969, after Barksdale was wounded in a shooting, Hoover took charge of the Gangster Disciples. The gang assumed control of the South Side drug trade, making more than $1,000 a day in profits.
By his early 20s, Hoover had been in and out of prison several times, and had endured at least six separate shooting attempts on his life. However, he was unable to escape the reach of the law when he and another Gangster Disciple, Andrew Howard, were charged with murdering dealer William Young on February 26, 1973. The two men were sentenced to 150 to 200 years in prison, with Hoover sent to the maximum-security Stateville Correctional Center in Crest Hill, Illinois.