FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, November 15, 2022
Thirty-Two Alleged Members of Two Rival Brownsville-Based Gangs Charged With 106 Counts, Including Conspiracy to Commit Murder
19 Shootings, Two of Them Fatal, Included in Four Separate Indictments;
14 Total Victims, Several of Them Innocent Bystanders, Including 3-Year-Old Girl
and 62-year-old man; 27 Firearms Recovered During Long-Term Investigation
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, together with New York City Police Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell, today announced that 32 alleged members of two rival street gangs known as WOOO and CHOO are variously charged in four indictments with conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to possess weapons, and other related charges including murder, attempted murder, reckless endangerment, and weapons possession. The indictments include charges related to 19 shootings that resulted in 14 victims, including two who died as a result of their injuries. Innocent bystanders, including a 3-year-old girl who was leaving daycare, were wounded in the charged shooting incidents.
District Attorney Gonzalez said, “With this successful takedown we aim to incapacitate two violent gangs that have terrorized parts of Brownsville for too long. Their senseless and indiscriminate gun violence upended the sense of safety for many residents and wounded a number of innocent bystanders, including a 3-year-old-girl who was leaving her daycare center. We will never allow this type of criminal activity to go unimpeded and will work closely with the NYPD to build strong cases that will ensure that these alleged offenders are held accountable, and our communities are kept safe – like we’ve done in this case.”
NYPD Commissioner Sewell said, “Among the highest priorities for the NYPD and our law enforcement partners is focusing our resources on the relatively few people responsible for the majority of the crime and violence in New York City. Today’s charges highlight our commitment to identifying, arresting, and prosecuting anyone who takes part in illegal gang activities. I thank and commend the members of the NYPD’s Gun Violence Suppression Division and the entire Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office for their dedicated efforts on this important case.”
The defendants will be arraigned before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on four indictments in which they are variously charged with second- and fourth-degree conspiracy, second-degree murder, second-degree attempted murder, attempted first degree assault, second-degree assault, second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, and first-degree reckless endangerment. There are a total of 106 counts in the indictments against 32 defendants – 13 alleged WOOO members and 19 alleged CHOO members.
The District Attorney said the indictments are the result of a long-term investigation by the District Attorney’s Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau and the Gun Violence Suppression Division that started in the spring of 2020 and extended until November of 2022. The investigation focused on two gang confederacies that operate out of several neighboring housing complexes in Brownsville. On one side is WOOO, based in the Seth Low Houses, Van Dyke Houses, Langston Hughes Houses, Glenmore Plaza, and Brownsville Houses; WOOO is made up of numerous subsets, including OMB, 1800, Gorilla Stone Bloods, Makk Balla Bloods, 59 Brim, YAWAH and Pistol Packin Pitkin (PPP). On the other side of the rivalry is CHOO, based in the Tilden Houses, Howard Houses, Marcus Garvey Village, Newport Gardens, and Riverdale Towers; similarly, CHOO is made up of a collection of crews, including Folk Nation (also known as Gangster Disciples), Move In Silence (M.I.S.) and Hoodstarz. Dumont Avenue is considered the dividing line between the two gangs’ territories. Some WOOO- and CHOO-controlled housing complexes are located on the same street.
The long-running rivalry between these criminal organizations, predicated on maintaining their territory and gaining supremacy over their rivals, coupled with close geographic proximity, has led to consistent and frequent violence. Much of the violence charged in the indictments was specifically fueled by the murder of WOOO member Shamel Boomer on July 10, 2020. Although not directly responsible for Boomer’s death (a member of the Bergen Fam gang was later charged for allegedly committing that homicide), the murder of Boomer was celebrated by both Bergen Fam and CHOO alike and has become a common way to disrespect WOOO by both gangs. WOOO vowed retaliation against their rivals, including CHOO, in a violent movement referred to as “Boomin’ for Boomer” on social media. CHOO, in turn, retaliated against WOOO members or individuals perceived to be associated with WOOO.
During the conspiracy period covered in the indictments, there were 27 incidents, including two homicides and 17 non-fatal shootings that wounded 14 people. Over 25 different firearms were used in these acts of violence and 27 firearms were recovered during the course of the investigation.
It is alleged that many of the acts of violence were captured on surveillance videos. Furthermore, it is alleged that the defendants boasted about their criminal activities on social media and in music videos, discussing acts of violence and taking credit for shootings.
The first homicide charged took place on July 5, 2020, when CHOO member Corey Henry allegedly traveled to WOOO territory, the Glenmore Plaza housing complex, and fatally shot WOOO member Jahrell Gause. The second homicide took place on July 12, 2022, when CHOO member Shakur Bartley allegedly shot and killed Tyrie McLaughlin, a WOOO member, in front of the Brownsville Houses, which is considered WOOO territory.
Other significant incidents that are charged as part of the conspiracies include:
- On March 25, 2022, it is alleged that Daleek Habersham traveled in a BMW driven by Princess Chambers to Riverdale Avenue, where he allegedly believed a WOOO member resided. It is alleged that once in the vicinity, Habersham exited the BMW and shot directly in the direction of a man who was putting a young child into his car (and who was not, in reality, a rival) before running back into the waiting BMW. A 3-year-old girl who was walking from a nearby daycare, holding her father’s hand, was struck in the shoulder. The following day, Habersham allegedly sent a screenshot of a news article describing the shooting to a private Instagram group, followed by the message “did bad.”
- On April 14, 2021, it is charged that CHOO member Parnell Brown was struck by a Hyundai Sonata driven by WOOO member Davvion Thompson while Brown attempted to cross the street. After rolling onto the hood and being thrown to the ground, it is alleged that Brown immediately ran after the Hyundai, firing at its direction as it sped away. It is further alleged that Thompson drove straight to Saks 5th Avenue in Manhattan, where video surveillance captures him shopping with others at the luxury store.
- On October 6, 2020, it is alleged that WOOO member Lawrence Cook summoned two other WOOO members, Elijah Griffith and Avante Stephen, after seeing a rival CHOO member in a doctor’s office waiting room. It is alleged that Griffith and Stephen immediately came to the area, where they waited nearby until the CHOO member exited the doctor’s office with his mother and young siblings at approximately 2:50 pm. Once the CHOO member and his family entered a Honda Pilot, Griffith allegedly fired upon the vehicle multiple times, striking the vehicle. This incident represents WOOO’s policy of “shoot on sight.”
This investigation was conducted by New York City Police Department Detective John LaMariana and Detective Justin Vazquez of the Gun Violence Suppression Division, under the supervision of Sergeant Yancy Blowe, Sergeant Calvin Fergus, Lieutenant Salvatore Sciove, Captain Ryan Gillis, all of the Gun Violence Suppression Division, and Deputy Chief Jason Savino, the Commanding Officer of the Gun Violence Suppression Division, and under the overall supervision of Chief of Detectives James W. Essig.
The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorneys Kelly Maloney and Daniel Stern of the District Attorney’s Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau, with the assistance of Paralegals Dian Fields-Vernon and Tanya Lopez, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorneys Kathryn Spota and Gillian DiPietro, VCE Deputy Bureau Chiefs, Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Cilia, VCE First Deputy Bureau Chief, and Assistant District Attorney Alfred DeIngeniis, VCE Bureau Chief.
An indictment is merely an accusation and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.
[Note: Materials shown at the press conference are available here.]
- Errol Everett, 36
- Elijah Griffith, 23
- Dionte Gibb, 24
- Baramus Temple, 23
- Lawrence Cook, 22
- George Rosario, 23
- Jared Lambson, 18
- Avante Stephen, 22
- Tyler Hodges, 19
- Christian Graham, 20
- Denus Sanders, 24
- Davvion Thompson, 23
- Travon Murphy, 22
- Pernell Brown, 21
- Roleke Green, 20
- Jaylen Clark, 21
- Juvaun Delfyette, 19
- Paul Moore, 22
- Lamont Lockett, 19
- Isaiah Feliciano, 22
- Jaylen Ortiz, 18
- Daleek Habersham, 23
- Princess Chambers, 22
- Corey Henry, 20
- Anthony McCrae, 24
- Bryan Rodriguez, 21
- Shakur Bartley, 25
- Levi Alexis, 21
- Franklin McClain, 20
- Deandru Jones, 23
- Jaevon King, 21
- Joel Mentore, 19