NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A New York City subway conductor is among four suspects arrested on gun trafficking charges.
The arrests come as the NYPD says the number of shootings has nearly doubled since last year.
There were 690 incidents at this time in 2019, compared to 1,342 so far in 2020. In addition, there have been twice as many victims — 1,648 this year, up from 820 last year.
It was a violent summer in the city that included an unsettling spike in shootings in Brooklyn.
But on Thursday, the Kings County district attorney and the NYPD announced progress in the attempt to end gun violence, the arrest of four men they say helped bring firearms into the borough, CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported.
“Running them up I-95, the Iron Pipeline, and bringing those guns directly into Brownsville,” Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez said.
Among those arrested were two Brooklyn men, 49-year-old Moutoun Hart of Brownsville, whom prosecutors say sold the guns locally, and 49-year-old Vernal Douglas, a Metropolitan Transportation Authority subway conductor.
Douglas, who also has a home in South Carolina, is accused of bringing guns up from his connections down south to be sold on the streets of New York.
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Investigators said they intercepted cellphone conversations Douglas had during a gun buy, where he callously disregards the August fatal shooting of 1-year-old Davell Gardner in Bedford-Stuyvesant, expressing more concern that young men were properly armed.
“I gotta get my young (expletive) right. These (expletive) warring up here like crazy,” the voice on tape said. “Man, them (expletive) is killing each other left and right behind some 1-year-old baby. (Expletive) shot a 1-year-old old baby in the stomach.”
The investigation was launched after a tip back in October 2019.
On Thursday, the DA’s office displayed multiple guns recovered by undercover law enforcement officers, leading to the arrests.
“They know that these guns will be used to commit crimes. They simply don’t care,” Gonzalez said.
Douglas joined the MTA in 2017. The agency said he has been pulled from active service and that it has zero tolerance for conduct that facilitates crimes of violence.
The DA’s office said the investigation is far from over, with more arrests expected.
Douglas was arraigned Thursday and is being held on $750,000 bail.
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