Fort Greene

Judge puts blame on parents at teen gang member sentencing

February 13, 2018 By Paul Frangipane Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Teenage gang member Tyshawn Simon-Roberson stands with his attorney Terence Sweeney in Brooklyn Supreme Court before the sentencing. Eagle photo by Paul Frangipane

In sentencing a teenage gang member to 15 years in prison for a shootout that killed a 16-year-old, a Brooklyn judge on Tuesday pointed his finger to parents for not preventing gang violence.

At the sentencing for Tyshawn Simon-Roberson, three of the family members of his victim, Armani Hankins, a teen who was shot to death in a 2015 shootout in Fort Greene, testified before the judge finally had his say.

“Children running around the streets of Brooklyn, carrying firearms, it’s a disgrace, it’s a disgrace,” Supreme Court Justice Vincent Del Giudice said. “There’s no good reason for this.”

Del Giudice called the borough’s fight with gang violence a “sorry state of affairs,” and said adults in the community needed to help to prevent the issue.

Simon-Roberson, 18, was convicted with Malik Peters, 19, of first-degree manslaughter, attempted assault and weapon possession in two separate jury trials for shooting a man and killing Hankins.

Members of the Fort Greene-based “900” street gang, Simon-Roberson and Peters confronted East New York “4 to 5” members in front of an Applebee’s restaurant at 395 Flatbush Ave. Extension on Oct. 26, 2015.

Simon-Roberson then pulled out a gun, and shot a rival member in the leg before fleeing, which sparked “4 to 5” members, including Hankins, to run after him. In retaliation, Peters quickly shot and killed the 16-year-old Hankins.

“What happened on Oct. 26, changed every aspect of my life,” said Hankins’ mother, Joyce Burt in court. With Simon-Roberson’s family staring at her from the court audience, she addressed the teen.

“You still win, why? Because you got breath in your body,” Burt told Simon-Roberson as he hung his head. “I get a tombstone. I get grass. I get dirt!”

Hankins’ aunt, Renee Hankins, added that she hoped her nephew’s spirit would haunt Simon-Roberson every day of his life.

While too nervous to speak, the shooter’s attorney Terence Sweeney apologized to the victim’s family for him.

He argued for a 12-year sentence, saying that no one was looking to kill on that day and his client did not shoot Hankins.

When the judge refused to allow family members to speak to Simon-Roberson after sentencing, they stormed into the halls, slamming the courtroom door and shedding tears before leaving the courthouse.

Peters faces up to 55 years in prison when he is sentenced on Feb. 27, prosecutors said.

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