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DA gun buyback nets 134 firearms

Brooklyn Daily

A day after a deranged gunman killed 20 children and six adults in a Newtown, Conn., elementary school, Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes took 134 guns off the streets of Brooklyn with his gun buyback program.

Weapons recovered in the “no questions asked” collection, where residents were given $200 for their weapons at two northern Brooklyn churches, included 80 revolvers, 31 semi-automatics, four rifles, three shotguns, and one sawed-off shotgun. More than 15 other weapons, including B.B. guns, starter pistols, and zipguns, were also handed in, officials said.

“Once again, we have shown the effectiveness of innovation and creativity in law enforcement, in taking guns off the streets and making Brooklyn an even safer place to live,” said Hynes.

Hynes’s program was launched in July, 2008. Last June, 70 guns were turned in at one church as part of the program. In 2010, 287 guns were collected in Brooklyn at six churches. And in 2008, there were three gun buybacks at a combined 16 churches, resulting in 1,532 guns.

Hynes followed the buyback program by penning a letter to the New York Times, demanding the creation of a national commission on gun control.

“The commission should be made up of experts from the fields of law enforcement, school safety, mental health, academia, and sociology and include a representative from a respected hunting organization,” Hynes wrote. “The prospect of prohibiting interstate transportation of guns, requiring background criminal and psychiatric checks before gun purchases at gun shows, a ban once again on automatic weapons, and on high-capacity ammunition magazine — all could be approved by Congress and not violate the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Second Amendment.”

Hynes cripples Bushwick gang

More than 40 members of a notorious Bushwick street gang are facing serious jail time now that the crew has been hit with a bevy of criminal charges including murder, assault, burglary, and weapons possession.

Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes said that the 68-count indictment is a list of crimes committed by the True Bosses Only crew between November, 2010 and September, 2012.

“This gang brought fear to the people of Bushwick, roaming the streets, committing violent crimes,” Hynes said at a recent press conference. “This particular ‘street crew’ is unique in regards to how organized their hierarchy is. We have to take down these gangs and street crews in the early stages before they become organized and more dangerous. This takedown is yet another reminder to gangs that if you continue your illegal activities, it is not a question of whether you are going to get caught, but when you will get caught.”

Officials say the gang was created in 2003 and grew significantly over the years in size, recruiting new members, forming alliances with other gangs, such as Hoodstarz and Brower Boys, and expanding their territory into Coney Island and Brownsville. As TBO grew in size, the gang created subsets, 730 Krookz and RGz, with members as young as 12 years old who had to commit crimes to earn promotions into the gang.

The gang became so confident that it brazenly roamed the streets of Bushwick, openly carrying guns, investigators claim.

The indictment accused True Bosses Only members with the murder of Derrick Bethea back in May, 2011. Several members allegedly searched for Bethea, a member of a rival gang, in retaliation for a prior attack on a True Bosses Only member. Upon learning of his whereabouts, eight alleged gang members descended on Bethea, and he was ultimately shot and killed.

The True Bosses Only crew is also accused of approaching a 19-year-old student on the street, displaying a gun, and stealing his headphones in March 2012. The victim fought back, so a gang member shot him in the leg. Hours later, another gang member brazenly posted a photo of himself on Facebook wearing the headphones with the tag, “Free Swipe,” the indictment alleged.

Reach Deputy Editor Thomas Tracy at ttracy@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2525.

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