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Suffolk police: 4 gang arrests after Shirley traffic stop

From left, Anthony Dawson, Franklin McKnight, James Jackson

From left, Anthony Dawson, Franklin McKnight, James Jackson and La Valle Wilson were arrested on drug and weapons charges after Dawson rammed an SUV head on into an undercover police vehicle on Shirley on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017, Suffolk police said. Credit: SCPD

Three members and an associate of the Bloods street gang were arrested late Tuesday after one of them drove a Dodge Durango head on into an undercover police vehicle, Suffolk authorities said.

Police recovered a half-ounce of heroin and a loaded handgun that had been reported stolen in Mississippi from the vehicle, Suffolk Police Commissioner Timothy Sini said Wednesday at a news conference outside the department’s Third Precinct headquarters in Bay Shore.

Sini declined to identify the officers, but he said they were not injured.

He said the driver of the Durango, Anthony Dawson, 35, of Medford, faces drug and illegal weapons charges, as well as criminal mischief, reckless endangerment in the first degree and unlawful fleeing. The other men — Franklin McKnight, 25, and La Valle Wilson, 24, both of Coram, and James Jackson, 22, of Mastic Beach — have been charged with drug and weapons violations, Sini said.

Dawson, McKnight and Wilson are members of the Bloods; Jackson is an associate of the gang, according to the commissioner.

Two members of the department’s Firearms Suppression Team, an elite unit created last year to target gangs, drugs and illegal weapons, were conducting surveillance in Bellport late Tuesday when they spotted a 2015 Durango driving erratically. The officers followed the Durango and pulled it over on Victory Avenue in Shirley, Sini said.

Dawson sped off when the officers approached the Durango, and the cops followed the vehicle to Candido Avenue in Shirley, a one-way street, Sini said.

“As the officers turned onto the dead-end street, they realized the perpetrators had turned their car around and was heading right for them,” Sini said. “The driver of the vehicle, Anthony Dawson, drove his vehicle right into the police vehicle, hitting it head on.”

The officers followed the Durango after the crash, Sini said. At one point, the police vehicle hit the rear of the Durango when Dawson hit the brakes during the pursuit.

The elite unit’s officers were eventually able to stop the Durango and remove the four men from the vehicle.

“These are officers who, after being rammed head on, continued to pursue the vehicle and make this arrest,” Sini said. “Two officers, removing four perpetrators from a vehicle, after being rammed head on. It just shows the perseverance, the professionalism and the bravery of our police officers.”

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