New York City police officers and detectives arrested 14 people riding on a party bus in Brooklyn Thursday night on charges they were illegally carrying eight handguns and nearly 60 rounds of ammunition, police officials said.
At a briefing with reporters Friday, NYPD Assistant Chief Miguel Iglesias of the detective bureau said a tip developed by a police youth coordination officer led to a city-wide alert about a private bus -- used to ferry the party revelers between Brooklyn and Manhattan -- in which some passengers may be have been allegedly armed.
Youth coordination officers have the specialized duty of having their fingers on the pulse of local communities, in this case a public housing area in the Brownsville section, a police official said. The party bus arranged to celebrate the 18th birthday of one of the bus passengers, police explained.
A special violent crimes squad unit quickly located the bus as it was returning through the Midtown Tunnel into Brooklyn and waited until it was by the intersection of York and Front Streets to stop it in the Dumbo section. On board were about 40 party-goers and a total of 14 people were charged, including 11 adults and three juveniles— were charged with criminal possession of a weapon, Iglesias said.
Police confiscated six 9-millimeter handguns, one .380 millimeter handgun and one .22 caliber pistol, as well as 58 rounds of ammunition. All were loaded, police said.
Iglesias noted that the investigation was looking into reports that some of those on the bus posed with the guns and posted the images on social media.
Following a year in which shootings in New York City doubled to levels not seen in years, Iglesias noted that detectives made 486 gun arrests in January, an increase of 61.5% over the same period in 2019 and the highest total for the month since 1995.
But despite the rising number of arrests, NYPD officials admit they face a quandary as shootings continue to increase in 2021 over 2020 by about 16%.
"We need all you, community members, clergy, business owners and also our families to get these guns off our streets every day," Iglesias said.