32 Charged in Brooklyn Gang Shootings That Injured 14 and Killed 2
Prosecutors in Brooklyn on Tuesday charged 32 people who they said were associated with two rival gangs in the borough’s Brownsville neighborhood. The two groups had been locked in a cycle of retaliatory shootings over several years that left two people dead and 14 injured, including a 3-year-old girl who was shot in the shoulder while leaving a day care center with her father.
The indictments were announced during a briefing at the office of the Brooklyn district attorney, Eric Gonzalez, who appeared alongside Keechant L. Sewell, the commissioner of the New York Police Department; James Essig, the department’s chief of detectives; and Jason Savino, the head of the department’s Gun Violence Suppression Division.
The investigation, called Operation Close Quarters, took over two-and-a-half years and covered a total of 27 incidents, Mr. Gonzalez said. In total, the prosecutor’s office unsealed four indictments, with 106 total charges, including conspiracy to commit murder, homicide, weapons possession and reckless endangerment.
The violence between the two gangs, which operated in neighboring public housing developments, began in the summer of 2020 when one of the groups, the CHOO, celebrated on social media the killing of Shamel Boomer, who prosecutors believe was associated with the rival gang, the WOOO.
Although prosecutors arrested a man in another gang for the shooting, the CHOO openly celebrated Mr. Boomer’s death because one of their own members had tried to kill him two days before his murder, Mr. Gonzalez said.
The CHOO’s posts and the killing of Mr. Boomer led to an exchange of threats between the rival gangs on social media that eventually erupted onto the streets of Brownsville, Mr. Gonzalez said. Shootings occurred as children were walking with their parents nearby; one even took place outside of a medical office.
“There’s no thinking about the terrible consequences that this behavior is causing in their community,” Mr. Gonzalez said, referring to the groups. “They’re simply going to shoot on sight at rival gang members.”
Several of those charged had a history of violence and had been arrested in connection to past shootings, Mr. Savino said.
“These are that small group of individuals that make it downright dangerous for all the great people in our communities,” he said.
The announcement on Tuesday follows the indictments of several sprawling criminal gang organizations in the city over the past year. In each case, prosecutors said that the dozens of people charged had terrorized their neighborhoods with violence.
Over the summer, Alvin L. Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney, announced state and federal indictments against 24 people connected to a subgroup of a criminal gang known as the Trinitarios. The subgroup, known as Own Every Dollar, was accused of committing murders, shootings, robberies and other crimes mainly around their Washington Heights neighborhood in Manhattan.
And in January, the Brooklyn prosecutor’s office charged 17 members of three street gangs in the borough that had formed an alliance and that had unleashed a wave of violence, leaving four people dead and 10 others wounded, according to prosecutors. The men and women indicted ranged in age from 17 to 23 and faced charges of second-degree murder, assault and criminal possession.
At a news conference at the time announcing the indictments, Mayor Eric Adams said that takedowns of large criminal gang networks should be duplicated across the city.
“We’re not going to live in a culture of violence and we won’t be defined by the crisis of violence,” he said.
If convicted, some of those charged on Tuesday face life sentences, while many face a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison, Mr. Gonzalez said.