Seventeen alleged members of three violent street gangs responsible for a string of shootings across New York have been charged in a 118-count indictment, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez and New York City Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell announced on Jan. 4.
The alleged members are part of street gangs collectively known as YPF, an alliance of three street gangs in Brownsville, East New York, and Fort Greene which formed an “umbrella group” under which members were able to increase their power and territory and commit violent acts against common enemies.
They have been charged in two indictments with conspiracy to commit murder, possess weapons, and related charges. The indictments also include charges which relate to shootings that resulted in 14 victims. Four of those victims died as a result of their injuries, officials said.
Alleged members of the gangs were between the ages of 14 and 20, officials said.
“This successful takedown is part of our ongoing strategy to reduce shootings and senseless deaths by targeting the most violent offenders in our communities,” District Attorney Gonzalez said. “A particularly troubling aspect of this case is that many of the defendants are teenagers, including an individual charged in connection with all three murders, allegedly committed when he was only 16.”
“We must engage with our young people and help to keep them on the right path,” 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. I am committed to doing both: aggressively prosecuting shooters and partnering with community-based groups that work with our youth to prevent future violence.”
Surveillance footage obtained by investigators allegedly showed gang members committing the violent acts, while officials said the defendants also boasted about their actions on social media and took credit for the shootings.
Among the violent incidences include a shootout at a bodega located at 296 New Lots Avenue, in which two gang members entered a store where a rival gang member was waiting for food alongside 18-year-old college freshman Sherard McKoy, who was not affiliated with any gang. One of the two gang members allegedly fired multiple shots at McKoy, killing him, while the second member fired additional shots at the rival gang member.
In a separate incident, multiple members of YPF allegedly opened fire on a group of people, whom they believed to be their enemies, attending a 16th birthday party celebration.
One person was shot in the leg outside the party, while five people were injured and another individual, Daijyonna Long, 20, was killed. A further two more people who were in an elevator in the building were also injured, officials said.
In September 2021, an innocent New York University student was shot in the arm when alleged members of the gang entered the Metrotech Mall in Downtown Brooklyn and fired multiple shots at a rival gang member.
The defendants were arraigned on Tuesday afternoon before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Craig Walker on two indictments.
The charges include first, second, and fourth-degree conspiracy, second-degree murder, second-degree attempted murder, first- and second-degree assault, second and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, and first-degree reckless endangerment.
“The joint, long-term investigation took aim at the most violent elements of these criminal street organizations. Once again, the NYPD focused on the few people willing to pick up a gun to harm those who live and work in our Brooklyn neighborhoods,” Commissioner Sewell said.
“By pursuing these kinds of cases together, our NYPD detectives and prosecutors in the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, work relentlessly to continue reducing this kind of violence—and our work goes on,” Sewell said.