In an effort to reduce guns on the streets of Brooklyn before this year’s J’Ouvert celebration, police Friday arrested 35 people and seized 10 firearms in Crown Heights, officials said.
Police executed nine search warrants as part of the investigation sparked by double shootings earlier this year involving gang violence, according to NYPD Capt. Joseph Matzinger, who was involved in the arrests.
“This was a concentrated effort to execute the case prior to J’Ouvert,” Matzinger said in a conference call with reporters Friday.
Last year, J’Ouvert, the celebration held during the predawn hours of Sept. 5 before the large West Indian American Day Parade, was the backdrop for two fatal incidents, including one in which Carey Gabay, 43, a lawyer in the administration of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, was shot dead in a gang crossfire. Denentro Josiah, 24, also died after he was stabbed in a separate incident. In the past, the celebration and the parade have witnessed sporadic outbreaks of violence that have led to deaths.
This year, in an effort to tamp down the violence, police and community groups have agreed to an intensive police presence. NYPD Commissioner William Bratton said earlier in the week that officers would be focusing on gangs in the area and arresting people with outstanding warrants. Friday’s arrests seemed to be part of that overall strategy.
According to Matzinger, a commander in charge of narcotics cases in Brooklyn, Friday’s arrests resulted from a four-month investigation into the activities of the “Franklin Avenue Family” crew, an affiliate of the Crips. The impetus for the probe were two double shootings on the streets of Crown Heights — one in March, another in April — believed to be part of long running turf disputes between the Franklin Avenue and Folk Nation gangs, he said. None of those injured in the shootings died, police said.
Police seized three pounds of marijuana, about 2.2 pounds of cocaine and a small quantity of heroin in Friday’s raids. Detectives said more arrests were expected as the investigation continued.