2 men arrested for shooting death of boy, 1, at Brooklyn park

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Police have arrested Dashawn Austin and Akeem Artis for the shooting death of 1-year-old Davell Gardner Jr. last summer.

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CBS New York reported the arrests were included in the takedown of more than a dozen alleged members of a Brooklyn street gang who police believe is responsible for multiple violent crimes. According to the report, Austin, 25, and Artis, 24, are said to be amongst the highest-ranking and most violent members of the Hoolie gang.

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez showed multiple videos of shootings allegedly committed by the crew, including the July 2020 incident that resulted in Gardner Jr.’s tragic death. In total, four people were shot.

“Davell Gardner Jr., only 22 months old, sitting in his stroller when he was shot and killed,” Gonzalez said. “Too young, too small to survive his injuries. Two gunmen shooting indiscriminately towards a park where people were having a barbeque.”

Funeral Held For Davell Gardner Jr., 1-Year Old Boy Killed In Brooklyn Cookout Shooting
NEW YORK, NY – JULY 27: The funeral program for 1-year-old Davell Gardner Jr sits on a table at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church on July 27, 2020 in New York City. At the ceremony, local elected officials, activists, and clergy gathered to mourn the loss of Davell and condemn the gun violence responsible for his death at a Brooklyn cookout on July 12. (Photo by Scott Heins/Getty Images)

According to the news outlet, a total of 18 alleged members of the Hoolie gang were named in the 63-count indictment that included four homicides and eight non-fatal shootings. The age range of those charged starts at 19 and goes to 33.

The New York Police Department informed CBS it is their understanding the gang has no more than 100 members. Investigators believe the Hollie gang developed a system where a three-car caravan was used to carry out shootings.

“Kind of taken off the top layer of the gang,” Gonzalez said.

“This gang targeted and sometimes killed really for sport. In fact, we believe at one point they may have even kept a score against the opposing gang,” said NYPD Inspector Jason Savino.

Gonzalez shared the takedown is the second part of a much larger investigation he hopes will result in a decrease in crime. Back in January, 19 alleged members of the 900 gang were indicted. The two gangs were street rivals.

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According to the New York Times, the day of the fatal park shooting, around 11:30 p.m., two gunmen dressed in black approached the park where people gathered for a cookout. The two men fired several shots at the group and fled as attempted people to find safety. Gardner Jr. was hit in the stomach and transported to a hospital, where he died from injuries.

“This is so painful,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news briefing at the time. “It’s not something we can ever look away from.”

Three men, were also injured: a 27-year-old who was hit in the ankle, a 36-year-old struck in the leg and a 35-year-old shot in the groin.

Peace March Held In Brooklyn To Memorialize 1-Year-Old Davell Gardner Killed During Cookout
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JULY 16: Police stand at the scene of a shooting which happened as Save Our Streets (S.O.S.) was holding a peace march in response to a surge in shootings in the Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhood in Brooklyn on July 16, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The tragedy continued an ongoing trend in New York City, where at the time, gun violence was on the rise. The newspaper reported the weekend of Gardner Jr.’s murder was plagued with more fatal and nonfatal shootings. As of July 12, 2020, there had been 634 shootings compared with 394 at the same time in 2019.

On the Monday following the shooting, Jumaane Williams, the city’s public advocate, said the city should have been more prepared, according to the NYT.

“Everything in these communities has been made worse by the pandemic,” Mr. Williams said. “Everything. Why did you think gun violence would be different?”

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