Two Hoolie gang members found guilty in shooting death of 22-month-old Davell Gardner: DA

funeral for hoolie gang victim Davell Gardner
Reverend Al Sharpton. and the family of Davell Gardner, Jr. pictured at the 22-month-old’s funeral service in 2020
Photo by Todd Maisel

Two Hoolie gang members have been convicted in connection with the death of 22-month-old Davell Gardner Jr, who was fatally shot during a 2020 cookout in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced Tuesday.

Dashawn Austin, of Canarsie, was convicted of second-degree murder and Akeem Artis, of Bed-Stuy, was convicted of first-degree manslaughter for the July 12, 2020 shooting that left Gardner fatally wounded.

According to the District Attorney’s office, Austin was seen entering the passenger seat of an Audi driven by Artis that turned on to Madison Street, near a park where the cookout was being hosted. Austin fired into the park, striking Gardner and three other people.

scene of davell gardner shooting
A baby stroller at the aftermath of the shooting death of Davell Gardner Jr. Photo by Lloyd Mitchell

Austin was convicted of three counts of second-degree attempted murder and Artis was convicted of three counts of first-degree attempted assault. Artis was also convicted of one count of second-degree attempted murder in connection with a June 24, 2020 shooting.

The two men were among four defendants who were variously convicted in a series of gang-related homicides and shootings on April 16 following a six-month jury trial before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun. The convictions were a result of the DA’s 2021 indictment against 19 alleged gang members in relation to more than a dozen shootings over a two year period. 

Evidence presented during the course of the trial indicated that the four men were members of a violent street gang known as the Hoolies, who are primarily based in and around the Roosevelt Housing Development in Bed-Stuy, and that the gang often committed acts of violence to show the gang’s strength and to retaliate against rival gangs. 

The two others defendants in the trial were identified as Travis Scott and Jayquan Lane, who both hail from Bed-Stuy.

In a separate incident, according to the DA, Dashawn Austin and Jayquan Lane entered the Kinanm Lounge on Atlantic Avenue on March 3, 2020, where alleged gang rival Janile Whitted was spending the evening.

The men followed him when he left the lounge, and Austin fired several shots into his chest at close range, killing him. Austin and Lane were convicted of second-degree murder in that shooting death.

Scott was also convicted of second-degree murder for the Dec. 4, 2018 shooting death of Tyree Walker, 35, who was not a rival, as he walked towards his home on Myrtle Avenue, and of second-degree attempted murder for shooting and paralyzing a 23-year-old man that same night.

Chu scheduled sentencing for May 1 for Artis and May 8 for the three other defendants.

“Today’s verdict sends a clear message that Brooklyn’s streets will not be playgrounds for gang wars. The reckless bloodshed perpetrated by these individuals not only robbed the innocent Davell Gardner, Jr., of a future but has also left an indelible scar on our community,” said DA Gonzalez following Tuesday’s ruling. “These defendants will be held accountable for their horrific crimes, and my office stands unwavering in our fight against the scourge of gang violence in our neighborhoods. I commend the outstanding prosecutors in my office who tried this complex and lengthy case and thank the NYPD for their excellent work.”