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‘They were keeping score:’ 18 suspects ‘obsessed’ over who shot and killed more, NYC cops say

A member of the Brooklyn gang unsuccessfully shooting at a rival at the Kings Plaza Mall in July 2017, according to prosecutors.
A member of the Brooklyn gang unsuccessfully shooting at a rival at the Kings Plaza Mall in July 2017, according to prosecutors. Brooklyn District Attorney's Office

The Brooklyn-based gang established an elaborate, callous lingo — all for “keeping score” as they racked up shootings and murders, according to prosecutors.

Gang members and their associates talked about how rival gangs could get “up on the scoreboard” by committing more shootings, according to recorded conversations obtained by New York City authorities. If gang members were in police custody, they were derided as “bench warmers.” Guns were known as “ball kicks.” And shots that didn’t strike their intended victims were “air balls,” prosecutors said.

The results of the game were deadly: From June 2016 to June 2018, the East Flatbush-based Martense Beverly Bosses (an alleged subset of the Bloods) committed eight separate shootings — including two murders and numerous injuries, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said.

Eighteen alleged members and associates of that gang were arraigned this week, Gonzalez announced Thursday. A 41-count indictment accused them with everything from conspiracy to commit murder and attempted murder to weapons crimes, prosecutors said.

“These defendants are dangerously obsessed with committing acts of violence,” Gonzalez said in a statement. “They cavalierly discuss shooting at rivals as if they were keeping score at a basketball game. But this is not a game. There is a trail of dead and injured victims.”

All 18 defendants — who range in age from 16 to 21 — faces conspiracy charges, prosecutors said. And some are charged with murder, attempted murder, reckless endangerment and more.

“These gang members walked the streets of Brooklyn, guns in their hands, acting as though life and death is some kind of game,” New York City Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill said in a statement. “New Yorkers are safer today because these criminals have been arrested and charged.”

Many of the shooting incidents arose out of the gang’s rivalries with other street organizations, including another East Flabush gang called “Collect Your Guap,” according to prosecutors. That rivalry grew more heated — and violent — after Martense Beverly Bosses members came to believe Collect Your Guap members were responsible for the September 2016 shooting death of a Martense Beverly Bosses member.

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Prosecutors documented extensive acts of violence the gang is accused of committing.

“During the course of this investigation, we saw members firing indiscriminately during daylight hours into crowds, with total disregard to innocent persons as well as rival gangs,” New York City Police Chief James Essig said at a press conference announcing the arrests, WCBS reports.

One rival was shot at — unsuccessfully — at the Kings Plaza Mall in July 2017, prosecutors said. The shooter only shot one round before his gun jammed. Another rival was allegedly killed leaving a deli in September 2017. The next month, an accused gang member shot six times at a rival and hit him in the foot. And in April 2018, another member shot and killed a construction worker as they walked into rival territory, prosecutors said.

One of the accused gang members, Jeremy Denaud, 17, already faces charges in connection with the Kings Plaza Mall shooting, the New York Daily News reports. He was caught discussing the shootings as sport in jail phone calls, prosecutors said.

“The defendant is heard on recorded Rikers (Island) phone calls talking about committing murders against Folk Nation rivals,” a prosecutor said as Denaud was arraigned, according to the Daily News. “The defendant is heard asking, 'Who’s up on the scoreboard?' in regards to shootings with rivals."

Yandell McKenny talks about his life as a Bloods gang member in the Homewood community of Conway and spending over ten years in prison for his crimes. McKenny says he has been reformed by the the experience and is now trying to help troubled youth

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