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  • Thu, September 29, 2016 7:35 AM | Trevor (Administrator)

    LOWER MANHATTAN — A gang member who shot and killed two men in a turf war nine years ago has been charged with murder, according to the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.

    Abraham Cucuta, 32, unleashed “a hail of bullets on a summer night” in 2007 in a courtyard within Harlem’s East River NYCHA complex, said DA Cyrus Vance Jr.

    The shootings killed 18-year-old Joshua Agard and 27-year old Manuel Sabater “for no other reason than to assert [Cucuta's] gang’s territory,” officials said.

    Cucuta, a member of the Bloods, was shooting dice with Agard — a member of the rival Crips gang — and Sabater, a fellow Blood, and several other gang members at approximately 4:30 a.m. on June 7, 2007 at the housing complex, officials said.

    Cucuta left the game and came back with a gun and sprayed the courtyard with bullets, officials said.

    He attempted to shoot one of the members of the Crips gang but, instead, shot Sabater. He then shoved Agard to the ground and shot him multiple times, officials said.

    Both victims died shortly after.

    “This case underscores our commitment to seek justice for every victim of violent crime in every neighborhood of Manhattan,” said Vance.  

    “I thank my office’s prosecutors for their dedicated pursuit of justice, and for showing New Yorkers that cold cases are not forgotten cases.”

  • Mon, September 26, 2016 7:34 AM | Trevor (Administrator)

    EAST HARLEM, NY — A man is facing charges for a 2007 double murder in East Harlem that involved a deadly dice game between rival gangs the "Bloods" and "Crips."

    Members of both gangs were playing dice outside the East River housing complex around 4:30 a.m. on on June 7, 2007 when Abraham Cucuta — a member of the Bloods — brought a gun to the game and started shooting, according to an indictment from the Manhattan District Attorney's office.

    Cucuta was attempting to shoot a member of the Crips, but instead gunned down fellow Bloods member Manuel Sabater, 27, officials said. Cucuta then shoved Crips member Joshua Agard, 18, to the ground before shooting him to death, officials said.

    “As alleged, this defendant unleashed a hail of bullets on a summer night in 2007, killing two young men for no other reason than to assert his gang’s territory,” said District Attorney Vance in a statement. “This case underscores our commitment to seek justice for every victim of violent crime in every neighborhood of Manhattan. I thank my Office’s prosecutors for their dedicated pursuit of justice, and for showing New Yorkers that cold cases are not forgotten cases.”

    Cucuta has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of second-degree murder.

  • Thu, September 01, 2016 1:55 PM | Trevor (Administrator)

    Shootings of two children started and ended a bloody summer in Buffalo, leaving two young boys fighting for their lives and city leaders calling for an end to gang violence.

    The summer started when an 11-year-old, Juan “Macho” Rodriguez, was hit by a stray bullet while he was opening his front door.

    Then on Thursday night, 8-year-old Donnell “Donny” Bibbes was shot in the head while sitting in a parked car with his mother and two older brothers.

    Police say the two shootings were gang-related, and that neither boy was the intended target.

    Juan was caught in the crossfire of two gang members when he opened the door to call his siblings inside to safety. Police believe that shooting had nothing to do with Juan or his family.

    Donnell was in a car with two older brothers who police believe are gang members, and one was the target. What’s more, the intended target is a suspect in two homicides, a police source said.

    “We all know that this was a targeted act of violence,” Mayor Byron W. Brown said Friday morning. “It is not a random act of violence. Donnell was with members of his family and we believe that a member of the family was targeted.”

    “This is a senseless act of violence that leaves an 8-year-old fighting for his life,” he added.

    Both boys are now the innocent victims of guns and the city’s gang culture.

    “We had the shooting of that 11-year-old boy and that was unacceptable,” said Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda.

    The incident Thursday night happened after Donnell’s mother, Chawniqua Johnson, had driven her three sons to visit a relative on the 400 block of South Division Street.

    Before they exited the car, police said, the shooter got out of another vehicle and approached the one Donnell and his family were in. The shooter opened fire with a handgun from about 20 to 30 feet away and fired as many as 15 bullets.

    When the gunfire ended, the shooter had missed his mark and instead Johnson’s youngest son was gravely wounded from a bullet to his head.

    Johnson drove away in search of help and the gunman fled in another vehicle. She spotted a police patrol car by a nearby shopping plaza and flagged it down. Her son was rushed to Women & Children’s Hospital, where he was in critical condition Saturday morning after two surgeries.

    The intended target of the shooting was believed to be Davieon White, Donnell’s 19-year-old brother, who was seated in the front seat of the car, according to police and friends of the family.

    “He is a suspect in two homicides,” one police source said.

    The third brother, Raheem White, 23, was seated in the back seat of the car next to Donnell, authorities said.

    Thursday’s shooting is the latest in what has been a summer marked by repeated violence. The first two months of the summer saw the number of shootings surpass any other time of the year, with nearly 70 people shot in June and July. At least 24 people have been shot in 20 shooting incidents so far in August, leaving six people dead and 18 injured.

    Police say that most of the recent shootings in Buffalo have been gang-related, with investigators getting little help in solving these cases. Witnesses and community members with information are often unwilling to give it to police.

    Addressing the gunfire between rival gangs, a police source said, “The gangs are shooting each other. One week they’re the shooting victim, but the week before that, they are the suspect in a shooting.”

    The mayor and the police commissioner on Friday issued repeated appeals for witnesses to give statements to homicide investigators. In stressing how crucial cooperation is, the mayor said that going forward, rewards from the police department and Crimestoppers would be offered to help solve other shootings.

    “These crimes will not be tolerated and our police will not rest until we find the individuals,” Brown said. “There are individuals out in the community that know the individual who is responsible for this shooting.”

    When Derenda was asked why there are a high number of unsolved homicides this year, he said many of them have gang connections and gang members often refuse to cooperate.

    At least a third of this year’s 32 homicides are believed to be gang-related.

    Davieon and Raheem White, police say, have been identified as possible members of an East Side street gang.

    A second police source confirmed that Davieon White is a suspect in two shootings. He has not been charged in either incident, but Davieon White has a lengthy arrest record, with his most recent encounter with police on Aug. 10, when he was charged with burglarizing the home of a neighbor in the housing projects where he lives.

    Davieon White flaunted a gang lifestyle in hundreds of photos and videos on Facebook. His page is littered with references to gang culture and drug dealing.

    One photo from 2014 shows Davieon White in a hospital bed with the text “Ain’t no bullet stoppin me.”

    Whether Donnell, 8, would survive the shooting remained unknown Saturday morning.

    He suffered a devastating bullet wound to his brain, according to police sources.

    The mayor, Derenda and Deputy Police Commissioner Kimberly Beaty met with Johnson and more than a dozen family members at the hospital Friday morning before updating the media on the boy’s condition at a news conference in front of the hospital.

    And while police believe gang activity resulted in Donnell becoming an unintended victim, that does not diminish the pain family members are experiencing.

    Brown said the family members were “leaning on each other and asking the community for prayer.”

    The mayor also released a statement from Donnell’s mother, thanking everyone for prayers and asking for privacy.

    But neighbors of Donnell felt compelled to speak out and express their feelings about what happened Thursday.

    Jakyle Foster, a neighbor and the boyfriend of Donnell’s 18-year-old sister Dazhanique White, recalled happier times this summer when Donnell was taken by relatives to go fishing and posed for a photograph holding a fish that had been caught.

    But most of the time, Donnell spent his time off from school in his Kenfield-Langfield neighborhood.

    “Every day I’m outside with him throwing a football around or he’s riding his bicycle,” Foster said. “He’s such a funny, good kid.”

    Another neighbor who has known Donnell since he was an infant said his mother has done her best raising four children as a single parent.

    “He’s an awesome boy and everybody is praying for him,” said neighbor Carmella Turner.

    Among those praying for Donnell is Juan Rodriguez’s mother, Sonia Pagan, who understands the heartbreak and shares Johnson’s pain.

    Pagan said she was shocked when her sister called her Friday morning to inform her that another child had been shot in the city.

    “Please let the family know they are in my prayers,” she said. “The road to healing is definitely a long one but God covers his children and I will continue to keep the family in my prayers.”

    Pagan said Juan remains paralyzed on the left side of his body, but that he is improving with his cognition.

    The violence, she said, needs to stop.

    And just as Pagan is now praying for Johnson’s little boy, earlier this summer Johnson’s thoughts were with Juan and his family.

    The day following Juan’s shooting – with no way of knowing her own son would be shot two months later – Johnson shared this on Facebook:

    “Let’s have a moment of silence and pray for our city and the whole (716). My father God I come to you asking that you give us our city back. We’re tired of hurting, losing our loved ones, crying, struggling and not being able to make it back home to our kids. God I just ask that you put an end to it, so our kids can play and not get killed. Where we can hang outside and not have to run from bullets. God I’m on bended knees pleading please give us our city back and please stop the violence.”

  • Fri, August 26, 2016 1:54 PM | Trevor (Administrator)

    BUFFALO, N.Y. -- An 8-year-old boy fighting for his life after he was shot on South Division in Buffalo Thursday night was injured in a gang-related shooting, according to police in Buffalo.

    Buffalo police are calling on the community to help find those responsible the shooting. Donnell Bibbes remains in critical condition Friday afternoon after being rushed to Women and Children's Hospital.

    Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and the police said it appears the act of violence was gang-related. They say the older brothers of Donnell were likely the intended targets.

    The three brothers and their mother were sitting in their car in the 400 block of South Division Street around 10 Thursday night when 10 to 15 shots rang out, hitting the car several times and ultimately hitting Donnell in the head.

    The incident happened right in front of the Buffalo Elementary School for Technology, which was a cause for concern to many parents in the neighborhood.

    Police said while the location of the shooting is troubling, they're concerned about all of the recent violence against children in the city.

    "It's a concern anywhere it happens, this happened after 10 o'clock last night so the school becomes irrelevant. Anywhere it happens is unacceptable. The violence where an 8-year-old gets struck in the head and, as the reporter said, an 11-year-old few weeks earlier, unacceptable cannot tolerate and we need people to step forward and let us know what they know," said Buffalo Police Department Commissioner Daniel Darenda.

    Donnell's mother released a statement:

    "Our family would like to thank everyone for their concern and prayer for Donnell. At this time, we have asked for our privacy. Please continue to pray for him as he fights to recover."

    Police are offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to an arrest.

    Anyone with information should call or text the Confidential TIPCALL Line. That number is 716-847-2255.

  • Fri, August 26, 2016 1:53 PM | Trevor (Administrator)

     BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Peace leaders holding a rally are making a plea to the community – asking them to join together to stop gang violence.

    A handful of anti-violence group leaders came together with some people from the East Side Buffalo neighborhood where an 8-year-old was visiting when he was shot, asking to end city gang violence.

    This rally happened near the spot where Donnell Bibbes was shot and critically injured around 10 p.m. Thursday night.

    Police believe the shooting is gang related and they say no one is talking about what happened.  Community leaders are expressing their frustrations today, saying people know what happened and have information but are fearful to say anything.  These leaders say not reporting this information is enabling the violence to continue.

    “We’re tying law enforcement’s hands,” said Pastor James Giles, the leader of the Buffalo Peacemakers. “They need community cooperation to solve these crimes. We’re telling the characters that do this, that live in our neighborhoods, we’re saying to them ‘We got your back– even though you went there and almost killed a boy 8 years old, you can come here and protect you.’ That is bothering me and bothers all these community representatives here today. That is so disturbing that you think you can hide under neighborhoods. What were concerned with is making it stop.”

    The leaders are hoping to make it stop by being more present in different communities and say they’ll lay their lives on the line if it means stopping violence in the city.  Those efforts are starting Saturday at 1 p.m. when they’re holding a march for peace.  City residents are encouraged to meet at 1423 Fillmore Avenue.

  • Thu, August 25, 2016 1:40 PM | Trevor (Administrator)

    A 22-year-old purported member of the Los Travaiesos street gang has pleaded guilty to attempted murder in the December 2015 shooting of a reputed rival gang member in a Corona club, the Queens DA said.

    “The defendant has admitted to shooting an individual inside a crowded club,” said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown. “The victim was wounded in the gunplay but fortunately survived. This kind of random, senseless violence has no place in a civilized society.”

    The shooter is Jose Sanchez-Ortiz, 22, of Brooklyn.

    “The defendant will be sentenced next month to a lengthy term in prison,” Brown said.

    Sanchez-Ortiz has been held in lieu of $500,000 bail since his March 2016 arraignment.

    Acting Supreme Court Justice Suzanne Melendez said she would sentence Sanchez-Ortiz Sept. 20 to nine years in prison to be followed by five years post-release supervision.

    The gunfire in the Passions Club on 103rd Street in Corona wounded Jose Apolinar, a reputed member of the Niños Malos street gang. He was wounded in the left arm, which required surgery to repair a severed artery.

  • Wed, August 24, 2016 1:39 PM | Trevor (Administrator)

    STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- A man who was shot and wounded early on Tuesday morning in Stapleton is a gang member with 39 arrests to his record, according to a source with knowledge of the investigation.

    The 32-year-old man -- who likely was shot a few blocks away on Broad Street and then went to Tessa Court -- has a gunshot wound to the thigh and is in stable condition at Richmond University Medical Center in West Brighton, an NYPD spokesman said.

    The man is on parole until 2020 and has 39 arrests -- most of them sealed -- dating back to 1999, the source told the Advance. 

    "He is very well known to the department," said the source about the man's interactions with the NYPD.

    Police have made no arrests in the shooting and have no description of the suspect or suspects, said a police spokesman. The victim isn't cooperating with police in their investigation.

    Officers initially responded at about 12:22 a.m. Tuesday on Tessa Court. The man's age was originally posted as 22-years-old.

  • Tue, August 23, 2016 1:38 PM | Trevor (Administrator)

    BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)- Families are in mourning after three people were murdered in Buffalo in just three days. Buffalo Police told News 4 the violence has been mostly gang related. They’re asking witnesses to come forward with information.

    On Saturday morning, Buffalo Police said 25-year-old Shakila Cottrell was shot and killed on Shumway St. during a street party. The next morning, around 4:30 a.m. on Sunday, two brothers were shot on Schreck Ave., 39-year-old Earl Parker died.

    On Monday evening, a 24-year-old man was shot and killed on Plymouth Ave. Buffalo Police have not released his name yet.

    Police told us it’s too soon to know if the crimes are related.

    There have been nine homicides in just the last month. Thirty people have been killed this year.

    Buffalo Peacemakers Program Coordinator, Pastor James Giles said there has been a spike in gang activity over the last six weeks.

    “We call it ‘flaming on’,” he said. “It’s when they begin to ride around and look for targets and then respond to that by shooting at people.”

    Giles said there are also new criminals in Buffalo.

    “We have new players coming in, we have people shooting that we’ve never heard of before,” said Giles. “When I know it’s that gang, when I know it’s that group, it’s easy for us to respond, to go over there and get this stuff squashed. But now we have new players coming into the arena, making a name for themselves.”

    Giles also told News 4 the people being targeted has changed.

    “It’s really staggering, the bullets are not caring whether you’re a male or female,” he said. “Now they are targeting females so it’s getting a little scary.”

    Buffalo Police data shows 30 people have been killed this year. Twenty-seven of those crimes are still under investigation.

    The number of homicides has increased since last year.

    By Aug. 23, 2015 there were 18 homicides. A total of 42 people were killed by the end of the year and 23 of those cases are still under investigation.

    Buffalo Police told us witnesses are slower to come forward in gang related crimes.

    “For a lot of these crimes we have evidence and we have an idea who may or may not have committed them, however, a lot of these cases require corroborating evidence from witnesses and people who can come forward and help us to do identifications, as well as help us to make arrests,” said Lt. Jeff Rinaldo, with the Buffalo Police Department.

    Lt. Rinaldo asks anyone with information to call Buffalo Police to help them solve these homicides. The tip line number is 847-2255.

  • Fri, August 19, 2016 1:38 PM | Trevor (Administrator)

    BUFFALO, N.Y. -- July was a busy month for Buffalo police. Last month police recorded more than 30 shootings, four of which were fatal.

    Stop the Violence Coalition president Murray Holman says that's just part of the story.

    "You know a lot of the shootings are not being reported that can play a role, but what I'm seeing now is new characters, new gang members," Holman said.  

    Holman thinks the spike can be traced to younger and younger people getting pulled into gang activity.     

    "We don't have the resources and I'm seeing new players," he said. "I'm not seeing the same average, OG (original gangsters) is like 18-years-old in gangs. Now I'm seeing 12 and 13-year-olds, we mentioned before, they're growing up now, and it only takes a fist fight for them to retaliate and raise mayhem."

    "You know when you have these young men who are 20-25-years-old who feel as though maybe that their best avenue to get a dollar is to deal drugs or to runs guns or those types of things, those are the wrong messages," University District councilmember Rasheed Wyatt said.

    Wyatt thinks more has to be done to break the cycle.

    "I think it really has to boil down to: how do we engage our young people, how do we help them with job training, job readiness, so they can have jobs," Wyatt said. "Because, I just can't say more police or more activities will be the things that's going to save them, because the young men in some of these problems are young people who have had problems with the law not one or two times but many times."

    Mayor Brown say he is concerned about the spike, but says overall crime is down and he believes that trend will continue.  

    "Overall crime is still down in the city of Buffalo, something that we're pleased with," Brown said. "Over the last ten years crime has been trending downward and has dropped from every previous year."

  • Thu, August 18, 2016 1:37 PM | Trevor (Administrator)

     

    BUFFALO (AP) — The leader of a Buffalo street gang has been sentenced to 27 years in federal prison for his role in four murders and seven attempted slayings during a 12-year period.

    The U.S. Attorney's Office says 30-year-old Efrain "Cheko" Hildalgo was sentenced Wednesday in federal court in Buffalo, where he was convicted of conspiracy and discharging a firearm during a violent crime.

    Prosecutors say Hildalgo was a member of the Cheko's Crew-7th Street Gang that committed violent acts and sold cocaine, heroin and other drugs on Bufffalo's West Side between 2000 and 2012.

    Authorities say he admitted to his role in the murders of four people, including two brothers were gunned down inside their apartment in November 2004. Prosecutors say the people he attempted to kill included four rival gang members.

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