Harold Joseph was born in Los Santos and joined the Chamberlain Gangsters Families at a young age. He eventually worked his way up through the ranks and became a senior and respected veteran "OG" member within the gang, also earning his nickname "Stretch". He also became friends with up-and-coming members Lamar Davis and Franklin Clinton. However, Franklin developed an antagonistic relationship with Stretch, presumably due to his reckless and selfish behavior. Lamar, however, idolized Stretch from a young age.
Events of GTA V
Near the beginning of the main storyline, Stretch is released from prison for crimes which are never revealed, and Lamar plans a sort of reunion for himself, Stretch and Franklin. The trio first meet at the front of Franklin's house, where Franklin and Stretch both exchange insults/crude jokes and nearly get into a fight with each other; Lamar questions why they can't ever get along.
After passing by a gunshop, they go to a factory at La Puerta for a drug deal with Ballas gang member D. Upon arrival, a friendly conversation quickly goes awry when D becomes hostile with Franklin and Lamar, which further worsens when the crew realize the Ballas have arrived to kill them as revenge for D being kidnapped by Lamar and Franklin earlier. Stretch, in anger, shoots and kills D; after this, the trio then begin to escape the factory. They enter a shootout with the Ballas and kill them all, but upon getting out of the factory, the LSPD have arrived, leading to a car chase. However, the trio lose the cops, and drive back to Franklin's house.
Some time later, Stretch tells Lamar and Franklin to buy drugs from a gangster in Grove Street. However, Trevor unexpectedly comes to the deal as well, and thanks to him, it is revealed that the drugs are fake and that they were going to be scammed if it wasn't for Trevor interfering. Some Ballas members are also waiting to attack them after the failed deal. Franklin, Lamar and Trevor kill all the gangsters and manage to shake off the police yet again. If Franklin escapes with Lamar, he will tell Lamar on the way home that Stretch set them up.
Stretch eventually convinced Lamar to go off on his own to the Ballas hideout in Paleto Bay and tell the Ballas that they are willing to sell drugs, as this would be a sort of a money making and peace making opportunity. In reality, this was a trap and Lamar ended up getting kidnapped by the Ballas.
However, after being convinced by Tanisha, Franklin, with the help of his new criminal partners Trevor Philips, Michael De Santa, and Lester Crest, assault the sawmill, kill all the Ballas, and rescue Lamar. While on the way back home, the two have a small dispute during which Franklin attempts to convince Lamar to leave his gangbanging, crime-ridden lifestyle, and get a real job. Franklin also tells Lamar about how Stretch hooked up with the Ballas during his time in prison, and that Stretch was the one setting them up the entire time.
By the end of the game, Franklin is given separate orders by Steve Haines and Devin Weston to kill one of his friends. Haines wants him to kill Trevor and Weston wants him to kill Michael. The player then has to choose between carrying out Haines' instructions, carrying out Weston's, or disregarding them both and getting together with both Trevor and Michael to take out their enemies.
Franklin contacts Lester and asks him for help on figuring out what to do. Lester initially suggests killing both Trevor and Michael, but eventually comes up with a better way to solve the problem. He lures Haines' corrupt FIB allies and Weston's private Merryweather batallion to a foundry where the three protagonists ambush and kill all of them, stripping both Haines and Weston of their brute force power. They give a call to Lester, who tells them the current locations of their targets. Michael will agree to assassinate Stretch, due to his lack of any association with him. Stretch will be hanging out with a Ballas crew, in the basketball court at the BJ Smith Recreational Center, talking about Franklin and Lamar. Michael interrupts the conversation, telling Stretch that he's got a message from his "homies"; Stretch figures out that Michael is a friend of Franklin and orders the Ballas to kill Michael, but ultimately Stretch and the Ballas are all killed. Immediately after completing his job, Michael calls the others, stating that Stretch "ain't a problem no more."
GTA Online: The Diamond Casino & Resort DLC mission "Casino - Strong Arm Tactics" confirms that this is not the canon ending to the storyline.
If Franklin chooses either A or B, he will receive a phone call from Lamar, who informs him that he has finally cut ties with Stretch, having agreed with Franklin's warning after thinking about what he'd said after rescuing him, Franklin wishes him the best and asks him out to hang out some time, Lamar agrees but not before hanging up, after telling Franklin that he is laying low for the time being (which is assumed that Stretch survived the game and will probably come looking for Lamar).
Aftermath of The Third Way
- A newspaper article will shortly appear:
Los Santos Shepherd Newspaper "A notorious member of the Chamberlain Gangsters Families gang was killed yesterday, only months after he released on parole. Harold OG Stretch was shot while playing basketball. No witnesses have come forward. Mr. Joseph was unmarried."
- Franklin can call Lamar to inform him that Stretch is dead. Lamar is shocked at first because Stretch is an OG, and Franklin reminds him that Stretch tried to sell them dry wall. Lamar then thanks Franklin while stating that Stretch's death was "probably for the best".
- D - Murdered for luring him, Franklin Clinton and Lamar Davis into an ambush.
- Unknown civilian - Murdered to steal his car and escape with Franklin Clinton and Lamar Davis from the police. (Optional)
From his appearances, Stretch is shown to be an extremely murderous, violent, brutal, bloodthirsty, sadistic, selfish, reckless, cold-blooded and trigger-happy gangster, who for some reason, shows a very strong mutual dislike towards fellow gangster Franklin Clinton and the two frequently argue, leaving Lamar to pick a side, however most of the times Lamar tries to stay neutral to their conflict and tries to resolve their issues.
The possible reason for Franklin's dislike of Stretch could be due to Stretch trying to pull Franklin into the life that put him in jail in the first place, and also due to Stretch's selfish personality and his routine gangbanging life, while Stretch appears to dislike Franklin due to his attempts to leave the hood and make something real for himself as well as for skepticisms and his doubts about the deals they make and that Lamar and Stretch should also leave the hood and get some jobs which won't get them killed in the process.
He appears to have a very short temper, assaulting Franklin for poking fun at him for "dropping the soap" in prison, and is also very merciless as shown when he immediately, and without hesitation, shoots an unarmed D twice in the face when he discovered that he had betrayed them.
In spite of his recklessness, Stretch is also very deceitful and manipulative, as shown when he secretly defected from the Families to the Ballas in prison, feigned loyalty to the Families while he was actually a traitor (unbeknownst to most) and several times used his influence on Lamar to manipulate him and try to make him think that Franklin is a snitch and to make deals with the Ballas which are actually set-ups for Franklin and Lamar to be killed. After the shootout at the scrapyard in The Long Stretch, he pins the blame on Franklin and Lamar for killing D and the Ballas, even though he too participated in the shootout and was the one who shot D to start with.
Stretch is a short, bulky man with numerous tattoos covering his body. He wears usual CGF clothes including a white T-shirt, blue shorts, a green hat and a silver chain. He has no hair at all.
Prominent Appearances in Missions
- Grand Theft Auto V
- The Long Stretch
- Hood Safari (Post-mission phone call)
- I Fought the Law... (Post-mission phone call)
- The Wrap Up / Reuniting the Family (Post-mission phone call)
- Lamar Down (Betrayal/Post-mission phone call)
- The Third Way (Option C; Killed)
- It is possible to knock Stretch's cap off, and originally he didn't even wear the cap at all. He is only seen wearing his cap in The Long Stretch.
- Despite the hostility shown towards Stretch, it seems like Franklin still wanted to invite him into the Forum Gangsters set, although he may have just brought it up to silence Lamar.
- The player can have Franklin call Stretch after certain missions. These conversations will initially start off civil before turning into heated arguments over their current situations, while after Lamar Down, they officially break off their friendship because of what Stretch did to Lamar.
- If he is killed via melee attack in The Third Way, the following news reports on his death will still say that Stretch died in a gunfight. This is likely an oversight.
- Stretch is very similar to Big Smoke and Ryder, the secondary and tertiary antagonists of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, as all of the men wear hats, were once allies and friends of the protagonist and deuteragonist in their games (Franklin Clinton/Lamar Davis and Carl Johnson/Sweet Johnson), were high ranking members of the Grove Street Families who eventually betrayed them, the protagonist and deuteragonist, aligned themselves with the Ballas, were involved in the failed murder attempt on the deuteragonist in their games (Sweet Johnson in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and Lamar Davis in Grand Theft Auto V) and finally, they appear as antagonists in their games, only to be killed by the protagonist later in the game (Carl Johnson kills Ryder in the mission Pier 69 and Big Smoke in the final mission of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, End of the Line, and Michael De Santa kills Stretch in one of the final missions of Grand Theft Auto V, The Third Way).
- Interestingly enough, even after their betrayals were revealed, they still wear their Families outfits.
- It's possible that Stretch's age could be at around his 40's, since in the mission The Long Stretch, Franklin says to Stretch, "Damn, man, I gotta spend my day with another middle-aged fool trying to recapture his youth?". He says this line to Stretch, which he then asks Franklin to rephrase what he just said, clearly implying a disagreement with Franklin's statement knowing that he is older.
- To further prove this, Franklin's line makes reference to Michael as the "middle-aged fool trying to recapture his youth" as well as Stretch. Michael's age is 48 years old according to his D.O.B. on his tombstone, stating his birth year as 1965.