‘Gangsta Crips’ members, others rounded up Some arrested in connection with four murders of young men in JC

Members of a violent Jersey City street gang called the “52 Hoover Street Gangsta Crips” were arrested as part of a statewide anti-gang initiative throughout last week, according to the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office – several in connection with four murders of young men in Jersey City between April, 2007 and September, 2008.

At a Thursday press conference in the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, state and local law enforcement officials announced that 14 adults and six juveniles were arrested between Oct. 1 and Oct. 8, although not all of those were arrested in connection with the gang.

A dozen of the 20 people arrested are alleged members of the gang, which police said operates primarily out of the Booker T. Washington Apartments on Fremont Street in Jersey City. They are suspected of committing crimes over the years not only in that housing complex, but also in the neighboring Montgomery Gardens on Montgomery Street and in other parts of the city.

There is no street in Jersey City called “Hoover Street,” so it is suspected that the address comes from another area. The “52 Hoover Street Gangsta Crips” are listed on a website as a known branch of the L.A.-based Crips gang.

The suspects were arrested between Oct. 1 and Oct. 8 as part of a six-month investigation led by the Prosecutor’s Office and the Jersey City Police Department into gang-related activity.

A local daily newspaper quoted residents of the housing projects as being thrilled after the alleged criminals were removed.

At Thursday’s press conference, Hudson County Prosecutor Edward DeFazio was joined by the state’s Attorney General Anne Milgram, Jersey City Police Chief Thomas Comey, and Jose Cordero, the state’s director of gangs, guns and violent crime control.Suspects sought out

Arrested last week were Jersey City residents Courtney Hemingway, 21, of Dales Avenue; Chajuan Hemingway, 20, of Halladay Street; Rashein Chandler, 19, of Dwight Street; Derrick Wallace, 20, of Fremont Street; Jamonee Gantt, 19, of 16th Street; Leon Smith, 20, also of 16th Street; Aston Sappe, 23, of Oak Street; Rashawn McFadden, 19, of Pearsall Avenue; Jobex Hemingway, 47, Tashawn Dutton, 20, and Michelle Wallace, 42, all from Fremont Street, and Darryl Brown, 46, of Monitor Street.

Non-Jersey City residents arrested were Tremayne Jimero Saunders, 31, of Norristown, Pa. and Sarah Enderes, 26, of Piermont, N.Y., as well as five juveniles, whose identities were not released.

Courtney Hemingway, Chajuan Hemingway, Gantt, Chandler, Wallace, and a male juvenile were charged in connection with the March 30 shooting death of 25-year-old Michael Williams in the hallway of a Montgomery Gardens building.

Chandler and a male juvenile were charged in connection with the Feb. 30 shooting death of 15-year-old Troy Gregory at the corner of Martin Luther King Drive and Oak Street.

A male juvenile was charged in connection with the Sept. 1 shooting death of 19-year old Lawrence Robertson, Jr.

An 18-year-old male (17 years old at the time of offense) was charged in connection with the April 17, 2007 death of 18-year-old Marcus Roberson, who was shot once in the back at a party in the Montgomery Gardens Community Room. The four victims also were believed to be gang members.

The other suspects were arrested on charges ranging from aggravated assault to drug distribution in Jersey City. Cracking down on gangs

Milgram said the 20 arrests were a “truly magnificent accomplishment” and were part of a comprehensive statewide effort with the 21 county prosecutors in New Jersey to crack down on criminal gangs through “intelligence-based and proactive policing.”

Statewide, there were nearly 300 arrests last week in connection with the operation.

Milgram pointed out the State Police’s gang survey for 2007 found that 43 percent of the state’s 566 municipalities reported a gang presence.

“Working with the county prosecutors, we developed a strategy … to figure out what gangs were there, what individuals were members of gangs, who was committing the violence, and what locations existed where the crimes were committed,” Milgram said.

Milgram also said violent crime is down 7 percent in the state from last year among adults, but juvenile crime has doubled.

Comey said the arrests were the result of the Jersey City Police Department establishing a presence in the Booker T. Washington Apartments, not just with policing, but also with community activities.

DeFazio devoted his comments to the four men who were killed, pointing out that three of them were teenagers. He also called gun violence not only in Jersey City but across the country a “scourge, a national disgrace.”

“In these four cases, each victim was killed with a handgun; each victim was killed in a public place, as I said, each victim was a young person,” DeFazio said. Comments on this story can be sent to rkaulessar@hudsonreporter.com


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