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Two suspects charged for murder of 1-year-old Davell Gardner in Brooklyn

The family of Davell Gardner Jr. held a funeral for the 1-year-old who was shot to death in his stroller with four others at a barbecue in Bedford Stuyvesant on July 12. The boys father, Davell Gardner Sr. in white shirt, mourns his loss followed by Rev. Al Sharpton. (Photo by Todd Maisel)

Two alleged gang members have been charged in the shooting death of 1-year-old Davell Gardner, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez and NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea announced on May 6. 

The defendants were charged as part of a 63-count indictment that names 18 alleged members of the Hoolies Gang for a multitude of fatal and non-fatal shootings in Brooklyn between 2018 and 2020. 

“Insidious gang violence as we allege in this case has taken and traumatized far too many lives, including many innocents such as Davell Gardner – a bright and loved baby boy with his whole life ahead of him,” said Gonzalez. “I am committed to working with the New York City Police Department to focus on the most violent offenders who we allege drive most of the violent crime in Brooklyn to keep our communities safe and bring justice to the many victims who they have harmed.”

Gardner was shot and killed while attending a barbecue outside Raymond Bush Playground on Madison Street in Bedford-Stuyvesant on July 12, 2020. The 1-year-old child was shot in the stomach after two gunmen hopped out of an SUV and fired on the gathering, injuring four other bystanders, who survived. 

The killing rattled an already traumatized city, as it dealt with an ongoing increase in gun violence while recovering from the worst days of the coronavirus pandemic. 

A baby stroller sits at the aftermath of the shooting death of 1-year-old Davell Gardner.Photo by Lloyd Mitchell

The District Attorney alleges DaShawn Austin, 25 of Canarsie, and a second shooter whose name has not yet been specified are responsible for the death of Gardner. 

Austin is an alleged member of the Hoolies, who the DA’s office says is at war with their rivals the 900 Gang in and around the Roosevelt Housing Development in Bedford-Stuyvesant. The shootings are suspected to have been set off by a December 2018 shooting of two Hoolie Members by a 900 member, which set of a series of bloody retaliatory shootings, which saw at least seven innocent bystanders take bullets 

The defendants each face up to 25 years to life in prison for the charges, which include murder, conspiracy to commit murder and to possess weapons, attempted murder and other charges.

“These defendants, by their alleged actions, were willing to kill rivals or even fellow gang members and do so without regard for innocent people caught in the crossfire,” said Shea. “This violence has to stop and cases like these are only made more solid when NYPD detectives and Assistant District Attorneys work hand-in-glove to build them from the beginning.”

In the wake of the child’s death, locals gathered to plead for unity, and city officials called for structural change.

“I am asking for unity,” said local resident Robin Lyve, who lost her son to gun violence in September 2005. “We will weed out the civilians who feel the need to kill a one-year-old.”

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