NYPD detectives arrested three teenagers late Wednesday in connection with recent gang violence in Queens that left a 16-year-old girl wounded and may have a link to the death of a 14-year-old aspiring basketball player, police said.
Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea said two 16-year-olds and one 17-year-old, all boys, were arrested for a shooting Monday on a bus, as well as the wounding of the teenage girl as she stood outside of New Dawn Charter High School in Jamaica.
Shea wouldn’t identify the suspects because it was still uncertain if they were going to be charged as juvenile offenders or adults. But he said they all had multiple prior arrests, including for robbery and gun possession.
“Some have been arrested four times this year,” Shea said.
“We know who they were shooting at on the bus, we know who they were shooting at at the school,” he added.
Conflicts between two rival gangs that police are still trying to sort out were at the root of the violence, according to Shea. In the bus shooting, the intended target was chased onto the vehicle and fired upon, but was able to flee.
Shea said he believed the two shootings cited in the latest arrests have some connection to the shooting early Saturday that took the life of Aamir Griffin, 14, of Queens on a basketball court by the Baisley Park Houses in Jamaica.
Griffin and the 16-year-old girl were the unintended victims in the two shootings, Shea said. The girl was hit in the shoulder and not seriously injured, police said.
NYPD spokeswoman Sgt. Jessica McRorie said Thursday night a 16-year-old male suspect is facing multiple charges linked to the girl's shooting. He is charged with attempted murder, assault, criminal possession of a weapon and reckless endangerment, she said.
The killing of Griffin was still under active investigation and Shea indicated that arrests might be forthcoming. While the guns used in the attacks have not been recovered, Shea noted that detectives have found a great deal of ballistic evidence and indicated that DNA analysis was being done on recovered shell casings.
Cops were also reviewing surveillance video evidence and canvassing the areas around the crime scenes with investigators from the Queens District Attorney's Office. Cooperation from witnesses has been wanting, Shea said.
-- Antonio Planas