Lengthy Prison Terms for Brooklyn Gang Members Who Killed One-Year-Old

Wim De Gent
By Wim De Gent
May 13, 2024New York
Lengthy Prison Terms for Brooklyn Gang Members Who Killed One-Year-Old

Two gang members associated with the death of a 22-month-old baby at a 2020 Brooklyn cookout have been given prison sentences of 40 and 50 years, the district attorney’s office said.

“Today’s lengthy sentences must send a message to those engaged in gun violence that it will not be tolerated in Brooklyn,” Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said in a statement.

The sentences come after a six-month trial that found four men guilty of various counts of murder and gang-related crimes. All four were members of the Hoolies, a violent street gang primarily based in and around the Roosevelt Housing Development in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.

The judge ruled significant sentences were in order: 28-year-old Dashawn Austin was given 50 years to life in prison; Travis Scott, 36, and Akeem Artis, 28, were each given 40 years to life in prison. A fourth defendant, Jayquan Lane, 31, will be sentenced at a later date.

According to the DA’s office, evidence presented at the trial showed that the Hoolies did not only use violence in retaliation against other gangs but would commit acts of violence to showcase their ruthlessness.

One of the gang’s most revolting acts was a 2020 shooting at a cookout in a park near Madison Street on July 12, 2020. Mr. Austin, accompanied by Mr. Artis, opened fire at the crowd out of nowhere, killing a 22-month-old baby and injuring three.

The investigation determined that they got away in a car driven by Mr. Artis, who was also convicted of attempted murder for another shooting several weeks prior, on June 24.

While hearing his sentence, Mr. Artis grinned at the judge, expressing his disrespect.

Mr. Austin and Mr. Lane were both convicted for the murder of an alleged gang rival named Janile Whitted in March earlier that year, whom they spotted in the Kinanm Lounge on Atlantic Avenue. The two followed Mr. Whitted when he left the lounge. Mr. Austin then fired several shots into his chest at close range, killing him.

Mr. Scott was convicted for the murder of Tyree Walker, a 35-year-old husband, and father who was shot on his way home on December 4, 2018. According to the DA’s office, Mr. Walker was not a gang rival.

“Just the wrong place, wrong time,” Mr. Walker’s wife told reporters outside the court. “We didn’t know these people. They were just on a vengeance that night.”

Mr. Scott shot another person on the same night, the 23-year-old Frankie Bradley, who was left paralyzed.

“Senseless gang rivalries perpetrated by these defendants left six people injured and three people dead, including [baby] Davell Gardner Jr., who was shot in the abdomen. Little Davell never got to celebrate his second birthday,” Mr. Gonzalez said.

“My heart breaks for his mother and father and all the families and victims affected by such devastating gun violence.”

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