NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — More than a dozen alleged members of a violent Brooklyn-based street gang have been indicted on murder and weapons charges.
As CBS2’s Alice Gainer reported Thursday, police say these are the highest ranking and most violent members of this gang.
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez showed numerous videos of the shootings, allegedly committed at the hands of members of the Hoolie gang.
One showed the July 2020 shooting that killed 1-year-old Davell Gardner.
“Davell Gardner Jr., only 22 months old, sitting in his stroller when he was shot and killed,” Gonzalez said. “Too young, too small to survive his injuries. Two gunmen shooting indiscriminately towards a park where people were having a barbeque.”
Four people in total were shot, including Gardner.
“His life was too short. He was a happy baby, never gave problems,” the little boy’s godfather said.
Akeem Artis, 24, and Dashawn Austin, 25, were arrested in connection to the shooting.
Eighteen members of the Hoolie gang, ranging in age from 19 to 33, were named in the 63-count indictment that includes four homicides and eight non-fatal shootings.
“Kind of taken off the top layer of the gang,” Gonzalez said.
“The individuals that are the true trigger pullers, the shot callers and the individuals that really founded the Hoolies,” NYPD Inspector Jason Savino said.
Investigators say gang members operated by using a three-car caravan — a blocker, used to block a police cruiser; a chaser, to speed off to make police chase that car; and a third containing the shooters. They also used an encrypted instant messaging system with coded language.
“This gang targeted and sometimes killed really for sport. In fact, we believe at one point they may have even kept a score against the opposing gang,” Savino said.
The Brooklyn DA said the takedown is the second part of a larger investigation. Back in January, 19 members of the 900 gang, the Hoolies’ rival, were indicted. Officials said they believe that will eliminate back-and-forth shootings.
“Historically, as soon as these trigger pullers, these violent offenders, are taken down, the violence subsides in that area,” NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig said.
Gardner’s godfather had the following message for other gang members.
“Stop doing it. Use your brain for education, to open up your own business,” he said.
The NYPD plans to engage local clergy and community groups to help try and show younger members alternatives to gang life.
One defendant who was indicted remains at large, 27-year-old Rasheen Parnell. If you know his whereabouts, call police.
Most of the defendants are facing 25 years to life in prison.