More than 100 suspected gang members from warring Harlem housing projects were arrested in New York City Wednesday morning on charges stemming from the 2011 murder of an 18-year-old basketball star in one of the largest gang sweeps in the city's history.
Early-morning raids at the Grant and Manhattanville Houses in Harlem were conducted by New York City police officers wearing helmets and vests, the New York Times reported. More than 100 people were indicted for crimes that included two murders, 15 shootings and numerous weapons offenses. About 30 of those indicted were already in jail.
One of the suspected gang members rounded up in the raids denied he had gang connections.
“We ain’t no f---- gang. I ain’t in no f----- gang,” a man whose mother identified him as 20-year-old Isaac Walterman told the New York Daily News. “Y’all just f----- up my life.”
The murder of nationally ranked Murry Bergtraum High School point guard Tayshana “Chicken” Murphy in September 2011 led to a feud between the two gangs operating out of the Grant and Manhattanville Houses.
Murphy’s brother was an associate of one of the gangs, and her connection to him made her a target by the rival gang, police told the Times. Police believe the December 2011 murder of 18-year-old Walter Sumter was in retaliation for Murphy’s murder.
Despite two convictions connected to Murphy’s killing, violence continued and shootings recently increased over the last two months, police and neighbors told the Times.
A news conference with Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. and New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton announcing the names of those arrested was scheduled for 2 p.m. Wednesday, a Vance spokeswoman told International Business Times.