Police say Brownsville tipsters played big role in arrest of mass shooting suspect

October 17, 2019 Meaghan McGoldrick
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Tips from neighbors played a critical role in tracking down a gunman involved in the mass shooting at a Brownsville block party, in which 38-year-old Jason Pagan was killed and 11 others injured, authorities said Thursday.

Kyle Williams, a 20-year-old Brownsville resident, was arrested Wednesday afternoon in connection to the shooting, which broke out during an annual celebration near Hegeman Avenue and Sackman Street on July 27.

Fifteen shots were fired by two different guns, top brass said Thursday — one of them belonging to Williams.

“He gave a full confession to his actions that night and admitted to firing the gun that killed Jason Pagan,” said Deputy Chief Michael Kemper, commanding officer of Brooklyn North Detective.

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“We know this with certainty — [Williams’] gun is the murder weapon that killed Jason Pagan,” he said, adding that the other weapon has since pointed cops to a second person-of-interest, who allegedly fired for “team Pagan.”

“This case is still very active,” Police Chief Terence Monahan said.

Williams was a “self-admitted gang member known to police,” according to Kemper, and his arrest came as a result of hard work by the police, tips from the Brownsville community and the media. “We can’t do it alone,” he said.

Earlier this month, authorities announced they were looking for two women depicted in a video from the Old Timers Day Festival, marking the first update police had given on the case since July 31, when they offered a $10,000 reward to anyone who could help them secure an arrest and indictment in the case.

“We released [that] video to the media and we asked the community to get it out,” Kemper said, “and tips started coming in.”

The two women were “associates” of one of the two groups involved, according to Kemper. He said the shooting was gang-related. “Simply put, you have two groups of individuals that didn’t like each other, they saw each other, words were exchanged, guns were displayed and shots were fired,” he said.

Officials, however, didn’t mince words when it came to classifying the incident as a mass shooting — something which Mayor Bill de Blasio initially refused to do, but later changed his tune.

“If you have three or more people shot, that’s a mass shooting,” Monahan said Thursday, stressing that what leads up to a shooting doesn’t matter if there are bullets in bodies. “[Motive] doesn’t matter.”

The shooting resulted in the highest number of injuries of any New York City shooting in 2019, according to the Gun Violence Archives data, and led to promises of funding for local anti-gun violence groups, as well as to the Brownsville community. The incident also launched the Brownsville Rapid Response Coalition, which tackled the aftermath on the ground through community efforts.

Williams — who lives less than a mile away from where the shooting took place — has been charged with murder in the second degree, criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree, reckless endangerment in the second degree and attempted murder in the second degree, according to cops.

“It wouldn’t shock me as the hours and the days go forward if more charges were tacked on,” Kemper said.

He is expected to be arraigned Thursday afternoon or evening, according to the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office.

Additional reporting by Noah Goldberg.

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