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Friday, 27 January 2012

A bust in Brownsville, Brooklyn, has taken 43 gang members off the streets.

10:46 | , ,


 The suspects, members of two rival gangs, were caught in what law enforcement is calling "Operation Tidal Wave." NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly and Kings Country District Attorney Charles Hynes made the announcement about the arrests at a press conference last week. They said the feuding gangs, known as the Wave Gang and Hoodstarz, had been "terrorizing" the Brownsville area. Their victims include an innocent bystander who was killed during a shooting. In one indictment, 25 members of the Wave Gang face charges that include second-degree murder, conspiracy, assault, criminal weapons possession and attempted robbery. In the other indictment, 18 members of the Hoodstarz face similar charges, including reckless endangerment. "Fear among the community was heightened due to the targeted acts of violence committed by these two gangs in Brownsville," Hynes said. "The gangs had a longstanding feud over territory leading to wanton and reckless behavior where kids would shoot at each other because they were in the wrong gang, on the wrong street or in front of the wrong building." The indictment alleges that Hoodstarz leader Culture Bermudez gave orders to his gang to shoot rival gang members. Last August, Gilberto Vincente, seeking rival gang members, fired several shots into a courtyard. The shooting killed an innocent bystander, Daniel Aleys, with a bullet to the head, and injured other innocent bystanders, including a 9-year-old boy and his father. Other shootings have occurred from the summer through this month. Victims include teenagers as young as 13 and two gang leaders. In some instances, robbery victims were people who refused to join the gangs. In many cases, the Wave Gang would target younger males, aged 13 and 14, and surround them in large groups, intimidating and robbing them. Kelly said several gang members used social networking to brag about their activities, leading police to make the arrests. "Gang members made the mistake of boasting about their shootings on Twitter, which NYPD officers used to help establish their complicity in murder and other crimes," Kelly said. While the mass arrests are being celebrated by the district attorney's office and the NYPD, A.T. Mitchell, a community activist and the leader of Man Up in Brownsville, said the community could have done more to address the issues of the gang members. He said a disproportionate number of youth are now going to go through the prison system. "Once you get to know these kids, they are just kids and you feel really bad for them," Mitchell said. "If they had resources available to them in our communities, a lot of our kids wouldn't have to turn and get into that lifestyle. Although I understand the havoc they wreaked was not acceptable, I feel bad that in one operation they were successful in taking 43 of our young people off of the street.

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