Philadelphia officials praise dismantling of gang linked to deadly shootings – NBC10 Philadelphia

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner met with Police Commissioner Kevin Bethel on Monday to discuss an update on arrests and charges related to the deadly shootings that occurred in the city in 2021 and 2022 – and the meeting evolved into a discourse of sorts on gang violence in Philadelphia.

The event was to announce the arrests of eight people. Seven of them were members of the Big Naddy Gang, a group active in the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood. Krasner said they were responsible for at least four fatal shootings, as well as several non-fatal shootings.

“BNG is history. They are finished,” the district attorney said when announcing the arrests.

Who was BNG?

The group, Krasner explained, grew after the death of Namir Johnson, who was murdered in 2021. Although that crime was prosecuted, Assistant District Attorney Joe Lanuti of the prosecutor's task force against gun violence said these individuals used Johnson's death as a reason to commit more crimes.

“This group subsequently committed a series of acts of gun violence that were unrelated to Nadir's death, although they used Nadir as justification for their series of acts of gun violence,” Lanuti said.

Later in the day, officials announced that a grand jury found that eight people – Jamir Brunson-Gans, 21, Dontae Sutton, 20, Khalil Henry, 20, Elijah Soto, 19, Nakye Williams, 19, Haneef Davis, 19, Jahlil Williams, 25, and Rahmeir Hayes, 22 – were involved in the killing of four people as well as shootings that left eight people injured.

All eight suspects are charged with murder, attempted murder, conspiracy and other crimes.

In addition, officials said, all but one of these people were members of the Big Naddy Gang.

Lanuti said these shootings stemmed from a range of crimes ranging from car theft to murder for hire. But, he said, while the crimes may have involved money or vehicles, the members of this gang were desperate to gain notoriety.

“They wanted to have a reputation for being violent and dangerous,” Lanuti said.

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner speaks about the dismantling of the Big Natty Gang during a press conference on June 3, 2024.
Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner speaks about the dismantling of the Big Naddy Gang during a press conference on June 3, 2024.

Shootings linked to BNG members

According to officials, members of the Big Naddy Gang are responsible for the murders of at least four people.

In a statement on the charges, prosecutors said Jahlil Williams, Sutton, Brunson-Gans, Soto, Nakye Williams, Henry and Davis are believed to have murdered 24-year-old Chaundrah Jones, a mother of two, on September 29, 2021, near the intersection of 33rd and Diamond Streets.

Investigators believe that this incident, in which two other women were injured, was a contract killing and that the shooters were “targeting the wrong people.”

Prior to this incident, officials allege, Soto, Sutton, Henry and Hayes were involved in the murder of 33-year-old Jerrick Jenkins, who was killed in an incident in the 2900 block of West York Street on September 18, 2021.

A few weeks before this incident, officials alleged that Brunson-Gans, Soto and Sutton were involved in the killing of 19-year-old Jordan Murray, which occurred on September 6, 2021 in the 2200 block of West Huntingdon Street.

Just a day before Murray's murder, authorities said, Brunson-Gans and Sutton were also involved in the attempted murder of a person who was shot multiple times in the 3100 block of North Judson Street.

Officers also allege that Nakye Williams and Davis were involved in the shooting of another individual who was leaving a candlelight vigil for a young murder victim in the 2600 block of North 22nd Street on the evening of October 10, 2021.

Finally, police officials allege Nakye Williams killed 42-year-old Jemeel Mccoy during a carjacking on January 2, 2022, near the 2500 block of North 28th Street.

Philly has “well over a hundred” gangs

During a discussion about gang violence in the city, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Bethel talked about how difficult it is to break up groups like the Big Naddy Gang.

In fact, Bethel said he believes there are “well over a hundred” of what he called neighborhood gangs or groups in the city. He said groups in Philadelphia tend to be “fragmented” and smaller, unlike well-known groups like the Bloods and the Crips in Los Angeles, California.

He said members of these gangs do this to form groups that work together but appear separate to avoid being caught.

“We have a number of groups in the city and we work with all of our departments and agencies to combat a variety of them. But some of them are much more violent than others,” Bethel said.

Krasner also spoke about his office's efforts to combat gang violence, pointing out that Philadelphia's gangs tend to be smaller and tied to the local area and neighborhood, rather than spread out over long distances or connected to gangs in other cities.

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Kevin Bethel discusses how police respond to gang violence during a press conference on June 3, 2024.
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Kevin Bethel discusses how police respond to gang violence during a press conference on June 3, 2024.

“This work is important”

In announcing these charges, Commissioner Bethel noted the impact that the dismantling of this gang could have on the community in Strawberry Mansion, where the Big Naddy Gang was active.

“This work is important. It shows the people in this community that they matter,” Bethel said. “The long-term impact of these arrests is significant.”

He also said the community patrolled by the police's 22nd Precinct is one of the most violent areas in the city.

Still, he noted, gun violence in the city has declined this year.

“We're moving in a better direction,” Bethel said. “But … we're not taking our foot off the gas.”

According to Philadelphia police statistics, there have been 109 murders in the city so far in 2024 through Monday, a 38% decrease from the same period last year.

If this trend continues, Krasner said the city could end the year with half the number of murders it experienced in 2021.

“Of course we all hope for that and more. We all hope that there will be no murders at all,” Krasner said. “But the possibility exists.”