Twenty-two alleged gang members are facing a litany of charges in connection to a number of shooting in the Highbridge neighborhood of the Bronx as well as a beatdown in Rikers Island, according to prosecutors.
Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark and NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell jointly announced on Tuesday that 21 men and one teen—alleged members of the River Park Towers gang (RPT)—have been charged in a 65-count indictment with conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder, attempted assault, criminal possession of a weapon and numerous other charges related to multiple shootings in and around the River Park Towers complex in the Highbridge neighborhood of the Bronx.
According to the district attorney's office, another indictment charges seven of the alleged gang members with attempted murder, weapons possession and other charges for an Aug. 17, 2020 incident in which they allegedly fired 11 shots into a building's vestibule, narrowly missing one of their targets.
Additionally, another third indictment is in connection to an incident on Rikers Island that allegedly took place on April 25, 2021 when apparent members of RPT and their allies attacked a member of the Crips.
According to the district attorney's office, the accused are also facing an animal cruelty misdemeanor for allegedly livestreaming a pigeon that flew into the area and said the bird was like a Crip who wandered into their neighborhood. One of the alleged gang members said that if the livestream reached 100 views, they'd kill the animal. When they reached that number, the district attorney's office said, the members beat the pigeon to death with a cane on Facebook Live.
According to the investigation, which took place from around January 2020 to March 2022, the alleged gang members accused participated in acts of violence including murder and the assault of members of rival street crews to maintain and preserve the power and status of the RPT organization.
Allegedly, around the time of the shootings, members would brag about their acts of violence and their easy access to firearms in their music videos while taunting rivals. They also allegedly used social media platforms to recruit and gain a following and would not only taunt rival groups.
“These defendants allegedly engaged in gun violence, committing six shootings, one which injured a rival gang member," Clark said, in part, in a statement. They allegedly fired wildly on the streets without regard for the lives of anyone else. They allegedly possessed a gun used in shootings that they posed with on social media and rapped about the violence... We are doing all we can to battle the gun scourge, but more must be done to deviate young people from a life of gangs and senseless violence."
Six of the accused are still being sought, while eight others are already incarcerated on other charges and will be arraigned in connection to this case in the coming days, according to the district attorney's office. The remaining were already arraigned and remanded.