23 alleged gang members arrested in Queens, years after mother's stray bullet killing

A major gang takedown in Queens resulted in the arrests of 23 alleged gang members as part of an effort to tackle violence around two public housing developments. 

The 2-year-long investigation started after a mother was hit in the head with a stray bullet and killed on her way to buy milk for her children. She was just one of many New Yorkers who have been caught in the crossfire of gang violence.

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Mayor Eric Adams, Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell and Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced the takedown Tuesday, alleging that the suspects had wild shootouts in the middle of the day with no regard for innocent bystanders. 

"No one on either side thought twice about shooting at a rival on a busy street.  It did not matter if it was in the middle of the day or that small children were present. They fired their guns bystanders be damned," Katz said.

Authorities say the rival gang members are subsets of the Crips gang and have been terrorizing the Woodside Houses and Astoria Houses in Queens.

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"23 total subjects. Of those 23 subjects, 18 have been arrested for a shooting-related incident or are being charged on a shooting-related incident on at least one occasion," said NYPD Deputy Chief Jason Savino. "Eight of the 23 have allegedly fired a gun more than once.  Simply put, these subjects are the alphas of the gangs. The gang's most threatening members.  That small group of individuals that have no problem shamelessly firing guns."

Mayor Adams also put blame on social media for escalating the gang violence. 

"Those who are using social media to taunt each other, and using a version of drill music and it’s not saying all drill music and I want to be clear on that, but using a version of drill music to taunt and turn into violence," Adams said.

Some residents who live in both the Woodside and Astoria Houses asking for even more police presence.

"Unfortunately, there are those who believe they are beyond the law. That they can do whatever they feel like it whenever they feel like it," one resident said.

Another man told Fox 5 "We didn't have these problems in New York until police got away from having neighborhood patrols."