Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez charged 19 alleged gang members in relation to more than a dozen shootings during the last two years, the borough’s top prosecutor and police investigators announced at a joint press conference Wednesday.
“These indictments reflect our commitment to stem the surge in gun violence that we have experienced since last spring. Many of these defendants are accused of recklessly opening fire in broad daylight, endangering not only their rivals but innocent passersby, including children.” Gonzalez said on Jan. 6. “I commend the NYPD and my prosecutors for all of the hard work that went into building these cases and am determined to continue working on similar investigations to take more shooters off our streets.”
Gonzalez slapped 15 alleged members of the so-called 900 street gang with a 77-count indictment of murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and weapons possession charges, along with a separate 11-count indictment for four other alleged members for conspiracy to commit murder and weapons possession.
The double-indictment covers 13 incidents between April 21, 2019 and Nov. 20, 2020, when the defendants allegedly committed a string of gun violence — including two murders, 10 non-fatal shootings, and one weapons possession arrest — which were aimed at establishing dominance in their territories that span parts of Bedford-Stuyvesant and Crown Heights, according to prosecutors.
The suspects range in age from 16 to 24 and face up to 25 years in prison for the top conspiracy charges and 25 years to life in prison for the murder charges.
Prosecutors allege the men all are part of the 900 gang, an umbrella organization covering several local affiliated groups, such as Stack Money Goons, Jayson Fam, and 1800/Humble, which control different areas of the neighborhoods and feud with rival gangs, such as Only the Borough and the Hoolies.
The lengthy indictment includes two killings during this year’s bloody summer that saw a rash in gun violence in the borough, and a top cop commended his investigators for bringing justice to the victims of these attacks.
“There is no place in our city for the kind of violence alleged in this case, which tears at the fabric of life for all,” said Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison. “I commend our NYPD investigators, and the prosecutors in the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, for working relentlessly to ensure these alleged gang members would be brought to justice.”
A string of violent incidents
The first killing happened on June 29 along Dean Street, between Troy and Schenectady avenues in Crown Heights, where suspect Tysean Devonish allegedly posed as a young girl on Instagram to lure alleged rival gang member Tracey Washington to meet up there, before authorities say Kaireil Haynie shot at him in his car multiple times.
Washington ran down Dean Street to flee his attackers, according to dash cam footage of a passing Metropolitan Transportation Authority bus, but collapsed from his gunshot wounds and was later pronounced dead.
The second deadly shooting happened on Sept. 8 along Dekalb Avenue near Classon Avenue, where Alexander Williams and Wydeem Rudd allegedly ambushed and killed Tylee Felder, shooting him six times outside of the Lafayette Gardens housing complex lobby, while also hitting two bystanders non-fatally.
On Oct. 2, 2019, along Vernon Avenue near Marcus Garvey Boulevard — a border between two rival gangs, according to investigators — two men shot at a guy allegedly from another criminal group walking out of a bodega, hitting him in the leg.
The next day, three other men shot at alleged gang rivals across the street along Graham Avenue near Cook Street in Williamsburg, luckily hitting nobody.
Police ballistics investigators found a shell casing from the Oct. 3 shooting that matched the firearm from the day before, leading prosecutors to believe that the gun is a shared weapon among gang members, according to Gonzalez.
“This gun is property of the gang, it changes hands, it’s used, it’s stashed in places, whenever a gang member wants to use the gun they have access to it,” the DA said Jan. 6.
Investigators connected the men to gangs by trawling social media posts on Facebook and Instagram, where the suspects allegedly broadcast gang activity and showed their membership. The suspects also allegedly posted music videos to YouTube with lyrics referencing rivalries and violence committed by gang members.
Some of them allegedly gave themselves nicknames of famous basketball players on social media and in song lyrics to signify their names as shooters, including “Shaq,” “Kobe,” “Curry,” “Westbrook,” and “Harden,” Gonzalez said.
“These men are steeped in gang life — we know this — all of these people have been scrubbed, their social media, they have been involved, many of them have been involved in multiple shootings,” Gonzalez said at the conference. “Rest assured that these are not young men who have been swept up into something, these men were actively involved in hurting people in our community.”
Police have arrested all but one of the 19 suspects, and the 18 defendants have been arraigned, according to a spokesman for the DA’s office.