Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced this morning that 18 members of the Bed-Stuy based Hoolies gang have been indicted on numerous charges.
The most high profile case involved was the shooting and killing of 22-month-old Davell Gardner while he was at a park barbecue with family last summer, some of whom were mistaken for rival gang members. Gardner was shot while sitting in his stroller, and became last year’s youngest gun violence victim in the city. The two men charged in this case, Dashawn Austin, who was the gunman, and Akeem Artis, who drove, wounded three additional people that day, and were firing “indiscriminately”. Both men were involved in several additional shootings as well, police say.
Austin was previously brought in as a suspect in the Gardner case, but was later released as police worked to build the case to withstand trial.
Police used a combination of tapped phone calls, security footage, forensic evidence, and social media to apprehend the members in an investigation that has spanned several years. Law enforcement obtained encrypted group instant messages between gang members that played a role in determining who had been involved.
The indictments come on the heels of 19 indictments served this January, of the gang’s main rival, the 900 gang.
“Most of these things happened in front of people, with a lot of innocent folks around. This is the type of gun violence that has made people fearful to leave their homes. Fortunately, as a result of today’s indictment, these men are off the street,” Gonzalez said.
Police and the DA say that the members, all men, indicted today are the most violent trigger pullers, as well as top leadership within the gang, and that community outreach will focus on keeping younger or potential members from following in their footsteps. The Hoolies operate primarily out of the Roosevelt Houses, police say, but span larger areas as well.
Most of the members are facing 25 years to life, with others facing even more time. Of the 18 charged, only one remains not in custody, Rasheen Parnell, whom police urge to come forward.
Police say that curbing gun violence this summer will be a major priority. Last year, shooting cases nearly doubled from 2019, and the numbers have continued their rise into 2021. Other cases involved in the indictment include shootings at the Marcy Houses and outside of a local nightclub. Investigators say that these arrests solve four murders and eight non-fatal shootings.
Other murders involved in the indictment include the killing of Tyree Walker on December 4th, 2018, Janile Whitted, an alleged gang rival, on March 3rd, 2020, and alleged gang rival Tavon Parker on September 1, 2020.
“[Long-term investigations like these] are about holding people accountable for the damage they cause in our community,” Gonzalez said. “We’re going to continue to work to get guns off our streets.”