Three violent street gangs teamed up in Brooklyn to hunt down their enemies, killing at least three people in the process, officials said.
BROOKLYN, NY — Three violent Brooklyn street gangs who formed an alliance to hunt down their rivals have been busted, bringing charges for at least 14 recent shootings in the borough, prosecutors announced.
Authorities unveiled charges Tuesday against 17 members of the “umbrella” gang known as YPF, which banded together across East New York, Fort Greene and Brownsville in the hopes of increasing their numbers, access to guns and moving safely through the borough to find enemy gang members, according to prosecutors.
The gangs were behind more than a dozen shootings and three murders in the borough, including a fatal shooting that unfolded at a Bed-Stuy Sweet 16 afterparty last November, prosecutors said.
All but three of the members charged Tuesday are teenagers, which the Brooklyn district attorney said has made the case “particularly troubling.”
“We must engage with our young people and help to keep them on the right path,” Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said. “They must learn that there is another way to live beyond the gang life and be given the tools and services to help them succeed.”
The three smaller street gangs hail largely from public housing complexes, including one known as “Young and Wild and Hustling” or YAWAH that is found in Brownsville’s Langston Hughes, Van Dyke and Seth Low Houses, prosecutors said.
The “Fort N**** Only or Fear No One” or FNO gang can be found in the Ingersoll Houses in Fort Greene and Pistol Packing Pitkin or PPP group surrounds East New York’s Fiorentino Plaza housing complex, prosecutors said.
In one of the more recent shootings, FNO member Giovanni Bennett opened fire at Metrotech Mall in Downtown Brooklyn in the middle of a September afternoon. Trying to hit a former FNO member who now belongs to a rival gang, Bennett ended up shooting an innocent New York University student in the arm, prosecutors said.
YPF members were also searching for rival gang members at the Sweet 16 party last year, prosecutors said.
“Have everyone in tears. Ruin it,” one member, Iquan Warlick, texted fellow gang members before the gathering with a photo of the party’s flyer, according to Gonzalez.
Warlick and three others went to the Fort Greene venue that night and shot at a group of perceived rivals, hitting someone in the leg, and then chased them around the corner, opening fire again, prosecutors said.
Later that night, when the party moved to an apartment building Albany Avenue in Bed-Stuy, Warlick and the other members showed up again. They split up and shot at three groups of partygoers on the third and first floor, prosecutors said.
Seven people were hurt and 20-year-old Daijyonna Long, who was visiting from Virginia, was killed in the shooting, according to officials.
Prosecutors also pointed to a bodega shooting from October of last year.
In that shooting, FNO members Warlick and Nakhai Addison were hoping to target a rival gang member but instead fatally shot Sherard McKoy, a college freshman who was waiting for food with the perceived rival, prosecutors said.
“This is the insidious part of this gang culture,” Gonzalez said. “…It did not matter that [McKoy] was not a rival, he was in the presence of a gang rivalry.”
The charges against the 17 members include second-degree murder, second-degree attempted murder, first- and second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and other charges. Five of the members face life sentences while the rest could end up in prison for 25 years if convicted, according to Gonzalez.
The YPF indictment is one of several gang takedowns in Brooklyn in the last year as officials struggle to control a surge in gun violence brought on during the coronavirus pandemic.
Gonzalez said Tuesday that the borough has seen a “steep decline” in gun violence since the early days of the gang busts. There were 20 percent fewer gun victims in 2021 than the year before, he said.
These are the names of the defendants:
- Nakhai Addison, 17, of East New York
- Dontay Alarcon, 18, of Brownsville
- Giovanni Bennett, 17, of Fort Greene
- Tyshawn Bussey, 18, of Fort Greene
- Tiemel Clark, 23, of Prospect Heights
- Freedom Drayton, 17, of Fort Greene
- Margario Harris, 21, of East New York
- Tieteanna Hoyle, 18, of Crown Heights
- Lesley Jemison, 18, of Fort GreeneReuben Johnson, 19, of Brownsville
- Dashawn Leggett, 19, of East New York
- Desire Louree, 20, of the Bronx
- Amir Quinones, 18, of Fort Greene
- George Risher Jr., 17, of Fort Greene
- Ron Robinson, 19, of Fort Greene
- Ziquan Thompson, 18, of Fort Greene
- Iquan Warlick, 17, of Fort Greene