NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Dozens of reputed gang members were arrested in Harlem on Wednesday in what authorities are calling the biggest gang-related crackdown in the city’s history.
About 500 officers in full body armor stormed two housing projects on 125th Street on Wednesday morning. In all, 103 people ranging in age from 15 to 30 have bee indicted, although law enforcement officials are still seeking 23 of the suspects, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said. Authorities said the suspects are accused in at least two homicides, 19 nonfatal shootings and another 50 shooting incidents.
Some of those arrested were smirking and mouthing off as they were being led away by police, CBS 2’s Dick Brennan reported.
Prosecutors say there has been an ongoing blood feud between gangs at the Grant and Manhattanville houses that turned the projects into war zones. The gangs mentioned in the indictments are the Make It Happen Boys, Money Avenue and 3 Staccs.
“They’re not fighting over drug turf,” NYPD Commissioenr Bill Bratton told reporters, including WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman. “It’s just mindless, senseless violence.”
— Commissioner Bratton (@CommissBratton) June 4, 2014
“For at least four years, these gangs waged a campaign of violence simply for the sake of violence,” Vance said, 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reported.
“No one in this city should hear gunshots or be afraid to have their child go to school or their parents go to the grocery store,” Vance added.
Prosecutors screened hundreds of hours of surveillance video from the housing developments and reviewed 1.1 million pages from Facebook and other social media, Vance said.
One victim of the deadly feud was 18-year-old basketball star Tayshana Murphy, who was gunned down in 2011.
Two men are already in prison for Murphy’s murder.
Robert Cartagena was convicted in April of murder, burglary and criminal possession of a weapon. A second man, 24-year-old Tyshawn Brockington, was also convicted in the case and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
Brockington and Cartagena were overheard saying that they were going to “smoke” somebody from the Grant Houses, where Murphy lived, according to prosecutors. Murphy was singled out because her brother was a member of one of the gangs, authorities said.
Prosecutors said Murphy was shot three times when she ran into her building after she saw them approaching.
After the shooting, Brockington and Cartagena fled to South Carolina, where they were arrested.
Murphy was a senior at Murry Bergtraum High School for Business Careers.
Known as “Chicken” at home and on the court, she was also considered one of the top girls basketball players in the city and was ranked as the 16th best point guard in the nation for her class by ESPN.
She was being recruited by schools such as St. John’s, Miami, Virginia Commonwealth and Cincinnati.
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