DA charges 34 alleged gang members in connection with 13 shootings

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Two groups of alleged gang members out of Brownsville, 34 people total, have been arrested and charged in a 122-count indictment that includes attempted murder, conspiracy, assault, criminal possession of a weapon, reckless endangerment and other charges in connection with nine attempted murders.

District Attorney Eric Gonzalez made the announcement on Wednesday along with NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea. They said that the 34 men arrested allegedly belonged to two gangs, known as WOOO (We On Our Own) and CHOO, which are rivals.

“This indictment reflects the commitment of my office and the NYPD to continue to work together to target those individuals responsible for senseless shootings that endanger innocent people,” Gonzalez said. 

“We allege that these gang members’ primary activity is to track rivals and to shoot at each other on sight on the streets of Brooklyn,” he continued. “This is outrageous and will not be tolerated. I am confident that this takedown, which is focused on drivers of violent crime, will have a measurable impact on public safety by targeting the offenders who commit the violence in our communities.”

Most of the defendants were arraigned last week in front of Justice Danny Chun. The top charge of conspiracy that most of the suspects face is punishable by up to 25 years in prison. 

According to the indictment, most of the men operated within the confines of the 73rd Precinct and eventually the 67th Precinct. NYPD’s Brooklyn North Gang Squad and the DA’s Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau began the investigation on Feb. 1, 2018.

According to the DA’s Office, the two gangs would “hunt” for members of the opposing gang in their rival’s territory and shoot at them on sight, constantly attempting to one-up each other.

In addition, according to the indictment, the alleged members of the WOOO gang targeted young women to act as “holsters” for them and carry their guns as they directed the girls to various locations to provide weapons as needed. 

Two of the 34 individuals indicted, 20-year-old Tyquan Ellison and 19-year-old Jayquan Wise, were charged with first- and second-degree rape for allegedly having sex with a 14-year-old girl. Ellison was also charged with sex trafficking for allegedly forcing the girl to have sex with Wise.

One of the 34 men charged was Equan Ware, 20, who allegedly opened fire in the Fulton Street Mall at approximately 1:45 p.m. on July 13, 2018. According to the DA’s Office, Ware was leaving the courthouse at 320 Jay St. where an alleged fellow WOOO member was on trial when he and others engaged in a verbal and physical dispute with rival gang members. Ware then allegedly opened fire in the middle of the crowded shopping destination and struck one rival gang member and two innocent shoppers who happened to be nearby.

Another person charged in the indictment, Carlton Darby, 22, allegedly fired his gun multiple times in the middle of the night in front of 250 Lott Ave. on Sept. 17, 2018; some of the bullets went through a window into a room where two children were sleeping, the complaint alleges.

In addition, the DA’s Office accused Tyliek Cannadate, 19, of opening fire at a group of five people who were standing near a playground next to the Tilden Houses at 5:50 p.m. on Oct. 28, 2018.

“When violent rivalries by street gangs inflict harm in our city’s neighborhoods, we answer with precision policing, arrests and solid prosecutions,” Shea said. “Our NYPD detectives’ work in this case, together with the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, will undoubtedly keep residents of Northern Brooklyn safer.”