— Eric Gonzalez (@BrooklynDA) August 22, 2017
Defendants Shot at Rivals in Fast Food Restaurant, at July 4 Party and in Drive-by Shootings; Innocent College Student Shot Dead; Bystander, in Separate Incident, Shot After Being Grabbed and Used as “Human Shield”
Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, together with New York City Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill, today announced that nine alleged members of the Brownsville- based Loot Gang have been variously charged in a 69-count indictment with conspiracy to commit murder, murder, attempted murder, weapons possession and other charges in connection with seven separate shootings that left one innocent man dead and 13 people injured. Four of those shot were women, all innocent bystanders.
Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This indictment underscores our commitment to prosecuting to the fullest extent of the law the violent gang members responsible for most of the senseless shootings in certain pockets of Brooklyn. Our targeted approach to enhancing public safety focuses on the shooters and gang leaders who drive the violence. We simply will not tolerate such lawlessness and bloodshed in our communities, which put hardworking residents at risk.”
“This indictment illustrates how law enforcement is taking a strong stance against violent gang members who commit these heinous acts of senseless violence against innocent victims,” said Police Commissioner O’Neill.
“We stand with our local law enforcement partners ready to identify, investigate and arrest those who are at the root of crime and collateral damage in our neighborhoods.”
The Acting District Attorney said that some of the defendants were arraigned yesterday before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice William Harrington and held without bail. The rest are expected to be arraigned this week. The defendants are variously charged with first-, second-, third- and fourth-degree conspiracy, second-degree murder, second-degree attempted murder, first-degree gang assault, first-degree criminal use of a firearm, first- and second-degree attempted assault, second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, second-degree assault, and first-degree reckless endangerment. The defendants face up to 25 years in prison on the top conspiracy count. (See defendant addendum.)
The Acting District Attorney said that, according to the indictment, the defendants, who range in age from 15 to 25, are alleged to be members of the Loot Gang, which operates out of the New York City Housing Authority Ocean Hill Houses in the 73rd Precinct in Brownsville.
The defendants are variously charged in connection with 10 incidents, including seven shootings and one assault, between November 2015 and August 2016. Fourteen people were shot, including one fatally. One person was beaten. The defendants mostly targeted rival gangs, including, on multiple occasions, shooting at members of True Bosses Only (TBO) in Bushwick, which is TBO territory. In addition to Bushwick, the shootings occurred in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Fort Greene, Canarsie, and Jamaica, Queens. In one instance an innocent 22-year-old man who was a student at John Jay College was shot and killed. It is alleged that all of the shootings were committed when Loot members were “spinning the block,” i.e., driving through rival territory looking for rival gang members and using one or more of four “community guns,” i.e., including a .357 Magnum, which the defendants referred to as “Becky,” and shared among themselves.
During the course of the conspiracy, the defendants allegedly agreed to commit crimes, including murder, assault and weapons possession, in order to maintain their dominance over their claimed geographic area, their social media dominance and superior positioning among budding rap artists.
Furthermore, Loot members allegedly used Facebook private messaging, as well as the calling feature available through Facebook messaging, along with text messages, phone calls, and FaceTime to communicate about getting guns and ammunition and committing acts of violence against rival gangs. Loot used public Facebook postings and music videos posted to YouTube and SoundCloud to antagonize rival gang members, boast about previous acts of violence against rival gangs and show Loot loyalty through hand signs, clothing and lyrics.
It is alleged that at least one shooting, on November 27, 2015, was in retaliation for the shooting death of Armani Hankins, a.k.a., Rocky, in Fort Greene, a month earlier. The victim was allegedly a friend of some of the Loot Gang members, and they released a rap music video entitled “Rockyworld” on YouTube which is a song about retaliation against a gang known as 900 for his death.
Among the acts of violence charged in the conspiracy are the following:
• On February 20, 2016, at approximately 12:25 a.m., it is alleged, that as part of the conspiracy which originated in Brooklyn, a person later identified as Dylan Cruz, dressed in all black with a red bandanna covering his face, ran into Rico Chimi restaurant located at 80-01 Atlantic Avenue in Jamaica, Queens, and shot at Tysheen Gott, an alleged rival gang member. Gott then grabbed a 33-year-old female patron and held her in front of him in an attempt to shield himself. He sustained five shots to both legs and his groin. The woman sustained three gunshot wounds to the left leg. Both survived. It is alleged that Quincy Vital drove Cruz to the restaurant and drove him away after the shooting.
• On July 4, 2016, there were allegedly four separate shootings involving Loot gang members, including early in the day, defendants Burston, Gilbert and Vital went “spinning” in TBO territory in a grey Mazda. They saw some TBO members. Vital grabbed a .357 magnum and handed it to Gilbert, who fired at the TBO rival. Hours later, at around 9 p.m., the TBO member who had been fired at shot and injured Corey Webb, an alleged Loot member. An hour later, Loot retaliated, returning to TBO territory and shooting a man in the abdomen. Finally, continuing to retaliate, at approximately 11:30 p.m., at 419 Chauncey Street, in Bedford-Stuyvesant, in Boss Gang territory, an ally of TBO, defendant Maurice Ellis allegedly fired on a crowd at an outdoor party, from a grey Mazda, striking seven people, including three women.
• On August 12, 2016, at about 12:40 a.m., at Wilson Avenue and Covert Street, in Bushwick, in TBO territory, it is alleged that Quincy Vital walked up to Terrell Henry, 22, a student at John Jay College, who had no gang affiliation, and shot him twice outside a bodega after Henry left a nearby party to buy an iced tea. He died of his injuries.
The investigation was conducted by New York City Police Department Detective Michael Algieri, of the Gun Violence Suppression Division’s Violence Reduction Task Force, with the assistance of Detectives Frank Murdocco, Nicholas Sofokles and Stephen Berardi, and Police Officer Jean Graf, also of the Violence Reduction Task Force, under the supervision of Sergeant Andrew Dunton and Lieutenant Richard Zacarese, and the overall supervision of Inspector Richard Green, Executive Officer, and Assistant Chief James Essig, Commanding Officer of the Gun Violence Suppression Division.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Katie Lee Wright, with the assistance of Assistant District Attorney Thomas Teplitsky, of the District Attorney’s Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Jonathan R. Sennett, Deputy Chief of VCE and Assistant District Attorney Nicole Chavis, Chief, and the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division and Assistant District Attorney Mark Feldman, Senior Executive for Investigations and Crime Strategies.
An indictment is merely an accusation and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.
1. Dylan Cruz, a.k.a., Banga, 25, of Queens.
2. Quincy Vital, a.k.a., SK, 19, of Queens.
3. David Burston, a.k.a., Spazz, 21, of Brownsville, Brooklyn.
4. Earl Gilbert, a.k.a., Bloccz, 22, of Queens.
5. apprehended juvenile, 15, of East New York, Brooklyn.
6. Legrant Foster, a.k.a., Brisko, 22, of East New York, Brooklyn.
7. Maurice Ellis, a.k.a., Maur, 20, of Brownsville, Brooklyn.
8. Josiah Morris, a.k.a., Siah, 19, of Brownsville, Brooklyn.
9. Terrard Wimms, a.k.a., Ty, 19, of East New York, Brooklyn.