Over 100 Arrested in Largest Harlem Gang Bust Ever [update]

June 4, 2014

harlem gang bustMore than 100 members of three feuding gangs were arrested in Harlem for killings and gun violence on Wednesday in what was described as the largest indictment of gang members in New York City’s history, authorities said.

3885772_GThe arrests and indictments were part of a conspiracy investigation that stemmed from the 2011 murder of Tayshana Murphy, an 18-year-old high-school basketball star, a person familiar with the investigation said. The source spoke on condition of anonymity because details of the sweep have not yet been officially released.

Although two young men have already been convicted for Murphy’s murder, investigators broadened their inquiry into a pattern of violence they said were plaguing the neighborhood in upper Manhattan.3885774_G

The gangs are accused of two homicides, 19 non-fatal shootings and about 50 other shooting incidents, according to a brief announcement from the Manhattan district attorney.

Further details were expected to be announced at a news conference on Wednesday afternoon.3885768_G

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Prosecutors have said the murder of Murphy, a nationally ranked point guard nicknamed “Chicken,” was the most widely reported casualty of an often violent feud between gangs from neighboring public apartment buildings in Harlem.

Murphy was shot three times, in her wrist, hip and chest, at about 4 a.m. in a hallway of her Grant Houses apartment building on Sept. 11, 2011. Her murder came after a long evening of fighting between the gangs, prosecutors said at the time.

3885777_GTyshawn Brockington, 24, and Robert Cartagena, 23, who were associated with a gang in the Manhattanville Houses project, were convicted for Murphy’s murder and sentenced to between 25 years and life in prison.

Update: Council Member Mark Levine released the following statement:

“Residents of the Grant and Manhttanville developments are breathing a huge collective sigh of relief today due to outstanding police work by the NYPD. For forty years Grant and Manhattanville have been plagued by inter-development rivalries. Gang violence in these complexes claimed multiple lives, injured many innocent people, and left countless residents living in fear.

As critical as enforcement action is, PSA6 and the 26th Precinct can’t protect safety alone. The long-term solution to the gang violence issue lies in a dramatic increase in youth development programming in Grant and Manhattanville.

The small existing programs in each of these developments come nowhere near meeting the demand. We need to invest in our youth if we are going to avoid having to deal with additional raids like this in the years in the years to come.”

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