Today’s news:

Gangs on the rise in East Flatbush

Two clusters of gangs are being monitored closely and are largely blamed for the uptick in violent crime on the streets of East Flatbush, police officials said last week.

One of the gang clusters is centered around Church Avenue and the East 50s, while the other is centered around Nostrand Avenue and Cortelyou Road, said Dep. Inspector Corey Pegues, the commanding officer of the 67th Precinct.

Cops believe that the gangs involved in the East 50s and Church Avenue incidents are offshoots of the Crips called the Blood Stains and the Outlaws.

“They’ve been battling with each other in a long, drawn-out way,” said Pegues, adding police have identified a list of persons shot and some killed as a result of the war.

Pegues said the second cluster appears to centered around the Church/Nostrand Avenues area, where Crips and Blood members have been spotted.

“We have arrests on different persons on both gang wars,” said Pegues, noting in the last 28-day period there have been numerous shootings around these two locations.

Four people were shot around Nostrand Avenue in two separte incidents with a 24-hour period, he said.

Pegues said both areas have been flooded with plain clothes cops, and the entire gang division has been deployed in these areas in the past few weeks.

Pegues thanked Inspector Robert Boyce, who heads the gang unit and was formerly the commanding officer of the 67th Precinct.

While the precinct is down nearly 14 percent in overall felony crime, the violent crime categories of murder and felony assault are both up.

There have been 13 murders this year as compared to 10 at this time last year, and 280 reported incidents of felony assault so far in 2009 as compared to 263 at this time last year.

The most recent of these murders occurred just before 10 p.m. on January 28 when a 29-year-old man was gunned down as he brought his two-year-old home from day care, officials said.

With his toddler in tow, 29-year-old Kester LaRoc and a 36-year-old friend were walking down East 52nd Street between Snyder and Tilden avenues when an unidentified gunman opened fire on the two men.

LaRoc was shot in the torso. His friend suffered a gunshot wound to his thigh.

The two-year-old wasn’t hit, although when he was found he was covered with his father’s blood, according to published reports.

When cops arrived at the scene, LaRoc was found sprawled out on the ground in the back of the building where the shooting took place. The father of four apparently succumbed to his injuries as he tried to escape, officials said. His child was found in shock sitting on the front steps.

The matter remains under police investigation.

Shooting incidents are also up for the year with 40 reported so far in 2009 as compared to 36 at this time last year.

“Most of our shootings here are narcotic-slash-gang related or club related,” Pegues said.

Pegues urged anyone with information about gangs in the area or any violent crime issues to call 1-800-577-TIPS.

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