Almost two dozen New York City gang members have been rounded up as part of a huge NYPD operation launched after a mom-of-two was killed by a stray bullet amid a brazen street shoot-out two years ago.
The gangsters, described by authorities as some of the ‘most dangerous’ in the Big Apple, belong to two factions of the Crips whose alliance broke apart amid a drug deal back in 2018.
In March 2021, members of the ‘Rolling Crips’ – a.k.a. the ‘Hip Hop Boys’ – and the ‘8 Trey Crips’ – a.k.a. the ‘True Cash Gettas’ – were locked in a brutal gunfight in the Woodside housing projects in Queens.
The gang members were chasing and shooting at each other through Woodside houses when they shot 37-year-old Gudelia Vallinas, who lived a few blocks away on 48th Street.
Vallinas, an immigrant from Mexico, was walking home from the grocery store when she suffered a gunshot wound to the head and was pronounced dead at Elmhurst Hospital.
Members of the True Cash Gettas gang, also known as the 8 Trey Crips, are pictured
Members of the Hip Hop Boys gang, also known as the Rollin’ Crips, are pictured. Eric E-Rose Holloway, pictured centre bottom, did not appear in the list of gang members charged with various crimes
Gudelia Vallinas, pictured here with her husband in this image taken from Facebook, was walking home from the grocery store in March 2021 when she suffered a gunshot wound to the head
The needless slaying of the innocent mother-of-two sparked a two-year investigation into the warring Crips factions, which ultimately led to a huge bust of 23 gang members last week.
Full list of detained gang members and their charges
DELANTE AIKEN, 21, of Queens, has been charged with conspiracy in the second degree and other crimes
TAHJI ALEXANDER, 25, of Queens, has been charged with conspiracy in the second degree and other crimes
KECHANTE BROWN, 29, of Queens, is charged with two counts of attempted murder and other crimes
TIMOTHY BROWN, 33, of the Bronx, is charged with four counts of attempted murder and other crimes
SHALIMAR CARSON, 33, of Queens, is charged with attempted murder in the second degree and other crimes
KAIAM DONOVAN, 40, of Queens, is charged with conspiracy in the second degree and other crimes
NASIR FISHER, 23, of Queens, is charged with attempted murder in the second degree and other crimes
BARKIM HICKS, 28, of Queens, is charged with conspiracy in the second degree and other crimes
HAKEEM JAMISON, 28, of Queens, is charged with attempted murder in the second degree and other crimes
AMIR JORDAN, 22, of Queens, is charged with attempted murder in the second degree and other crimes
WALIEK MCCASKILL, 33, of Queens, is charged with conspiracy in the second degree and other crimes
MIGUEL TAPIA, 23, of Queens, is charged with attempted murder in the second degree and other crimes
YURHUN PALACIOS, 27, of Queens, is charged with attempted murder in the second degree and other crimes
DJUAN PRICE, 32, of Queens, is charged with attempted murder in the second degree and other crimes
ELIJAH PRICE, 26, of Queens, is charged with three counts of attempted murder in the second degree and other crimes
LUIS RAMIREZ, 22, of Queens, is charged with conspiracy in the fourth degree and other crimes
MILTON RIBOT, 22, of Queens, is charged with attempted murder in the second degree and other crimes
SEAN ROBERTS, 27, of Queens, is charged with attempted murder in the second degree and other crimes
MICHAEL SHEPARD, 27, of Queens, is charged with attempted murder in the second degree and other crimes
JAHEEN STEPHENSON, 21, of Queens, is charged with four counts of attempted murder in the second degree and other crimes
DAVID WILSON, 30, of Queens, is charged with four counts of attempted murder in the second degree and other crimes
Source: Queens DA
The majority of the defendants were arraigned on an eye-watering 85-count indictment which included charges of conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder, reckless endangerment and criminal possession of a weapon.
At a press conference yesterday, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz was joined by NYC Mayor Eric Adams and Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell to celebrate the bust.
District Attorney Katz said: ‘Warring gangs are not just a threat to themselves, but to all of us. The reckless criminality we saw during the course of this investigation is the kind of lawlessness that has killed law-abiding New Yorkers caught in the crossfire of gang gun violence.’
New York City Mayor Eric Adams said: ‘Since day one, public safety has been our administration’s top priority, and that’s why we have been working around the clock to stop gun violence and to keep guns and repeat offenders off our streets.
‘This case is another victory in our work to remove New York’s most dangerous individuals from our communities.’
Police Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell said: ‘Today’s indictments mark the next phase of a nearly two-year long investigation – a case that took dozens of violent gang members off our streets. Their particular reign of retaliatory violence is over.
‘But our work – the work of keeping people safe and free from fear in every New York City neighborhood – goes on.’
Sewell’s assertion that the NYPD must continue their work to keep people in the Big Apple safe rings true amid the city’s latest crime stats.
The Department’s annual round-up of crime over the past year was published in January and it revealed that crime is up in virtually every category.
The statistics paint a bleak picture of the city’s efforts to address crime that’s rocketed since the pandemic – a campaign that has been touted as successful several times over the past year by Mayor Eric Adams.
However, statistics show the politician – who ran on promises of addressing violence on the city’s streets and is now entering his second year as mayor – was mistaken.
The data, released by the department Wednesday, Jan 4, came exactly two weeks after Adams assured citizens that officials had taken strides in the unrest, while touting supposed gains in public safety.
Adams, who himself is a former NYPD police captain, unveiled his ‘Blueprint to End Gun Violence’ early last year, along with a ‘Subway Safety Plan’ – both of which have so far proved largely ineffective, according to the new statistics.
The data shows that rapes, robberies, and assaults are all up from last year, since hitting highs not seen in decades in both 2020 and 2021.
Rape – which rocketed in 2020 when streets were empty and unemployment rife due to unrest caused by the coronavirus – rose by 7 percent, with more than 120 occurring this year than last.
Robberies, meanwhile, rose a shocking 20 percent, despite recent measures taken by Adams, 62, to increase police presence throughout the city.
Assaults and theft throughout the city, meanwhile, show a similarly pronounced rise, with felony assaults up 12 percent – 26,039 incidents this year compared to 22,835 seen last year – and burglaries up an alarming 25 percent.
All other crime categories – including grand larceny and motor vehicle theft – showed similar rises except for murders, despite the outset of the pandemic coming now nearly three years ago.
The statistics paint a bleak picture of the city’s efforts to address crime that’s rocketed since the pandemic – a campaign that has been touted as successful several times over the past year by Mayor Eric Adams
Adams has claimed there is only a perception that crime is out of control in the city
The statistics directly contradict repeated statements from Adams that New York – which saw incidents of violence and shootings swell to historic highs in 2020 when its streets were hollowed out by lockdowns – was well on the path to recovery, the most recent of which came just last month.
‘Anyone who studies crimes, they know it’s about,’ the mayor began, speaking at a presser in Midtown. ‘How do we continue to trend in the right direction?’
He added that he and his team, upon taking office nine months into the pandemic, had known ‘wouldn’t happen overnight.’
‘But we pushed ahead in spite of that,’ he continued, before citing statistics that showed recent headway cops have made in quelling murders and shootings.
‘New York remains — and people sometimes forget this, but I really want to highlight this,’ Adams said, ‘the safest big city in America.’
He went on to add: ‘And in 2023, we want to push this city to be safer.’
The mayor then showed statistics he called ‘very important’, which highlighted a 17 percent drop in shootings from that time a year ago, and a more than 12 percent drop in homicides – after murders reached levels not seen since the 80s when then-crime-ridden New York was labeled ‘Fear City.’
The mayor also touted a ’27-year high for gun arrest,’ after the city saw shootings double from 2019 during the first year of the pandemic.
Adams seemed to reference statistics that showed the total rate of serious crimes is up 23.5 percent this year compared to 2021, as well as a surge in killings, robberies and rapes in the subway system that has seen ridership fail to return to levels seen before 2020.
‘I think that New Yorkers should feel better about the direction that we are heading in the city around public safety,’ he said.
‘And the hard work of the NYPD and other agencies have been focused on making the city safe. Some of the numbers are reflecting that.’
While some of the statistics Adams cited were true, they failed to provide a full picture on the current state of the nation’s most populated city, which has evidently struggled to see crime return to prepandemic levels.
During the initial months of the coronavirus outbreak, burglaries and car thefts – as well as other crimes usually deterred by potential witnesses – spiked. Bodegas and boutiques alike all saw stark increases in robberies and shootings.
By summer, the frustrations of shutdowns and the chances of a potential economic collapse had spilled over onto the city’s streets, with shootings in a matter of months having doubled from the same time the previous years, with most incidents concentrated in the areas hardest hit by the coronavirus and unemployment.
Since then, some crime rates have trickled down from historic highs recorded during the pandemic, but remain markedly higher than levels seen prior to 2020.
The former NYPD captain has laid most of the blame for the city’s slow recover on Manhattan’s DA Alvin Bragg, and has criticized the prosecutor’s soft-on-crime approach and policy changes that have lightened punishments for armed robbery and burglary suspects.
The changes, made after Bragg assumed office along with Adams, make it easier for career criminals and repeat offenders to be reentered to society while being prosecuted for violent, and often felony-level offenses.