NEW YORK - A grand jury indicted 21 men and a teen as part of an investigation into a Bronx drill rap gang.
The suspects were all River Park Towers organization (RPT), according to Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark.
A 65-count indictment accused them of conspiracy to commit murder, assault, and weapons charges in connection with multiple shootings near the housing complex in the Highbridge section of the borough. Authorities said the gang was violent and reckless and would pull out guns in crowded places in the middle of the day.
The Bronx District Attorney's Office says another indictment charges seven of them with attempted murder and other charges for a shooting on Aug. 17, 2020. In that incident, nearly a dozen shots were fired into a building vestibule when they attempted to shoot someone.
A third indictment involves an incident in Rikers Island Jail on April, 25, 2021, when members of the RPT were allegedly involved in an assault on a member of the Crips gang in the jail.
One of the charges relates to a bizarre animal abuse case involving a pigeon. Authorities said the gang live-streamed the bird and likened it to a rival gang member who wandered onto their turf. They promised to kill it if they got 100 likes on the live video. After getting the 100 likes they allegedly beat the pigeon to death with a cane.
Five of the defendants are being held without bail in connection with the case.
Clark blamed the violence on a genre of music called drill rap that includes a lot of references to violence.
"According to the investigation, around the time of the shootings, members would brag about their acts of violence and their easy access to firearms in their music videos while taunting members of the opposition," Clark said.
Clark is calling all rappers from the Bronx to stop using music to encourage shootings. Clark said she will ask to have a summit with aspiring rappers, rap stars who come from the Bronx, radio stations and social media companies to find solutions to prevent further violence.