Police today announced two more arrests in the July 2 mass shooting at the Brooklyn Homes housing complex, bringing to four the number young people facing criminal charges in connection with the chaotic after-hours block-party in which 30 people were shot, two of them fatally.
City officials said the arrests are a sign that their investigation is vigorous and ongoing, although neither of the teens whose arrests were announced today – like the previous two taken into custody – is accused of firing the shots that killed 18-year-old Aaliyah Gonzalez and 20-year-old Kylis Fagbemi.
Aaron Brown, 18, of Lauraville, was charged with 75 counts, including conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder and weapons and assault charges, Acting Police Commissioner Richard Worley said at a noon conference at BPD headquarters.
A 14-year-old boy, not named because of his age, was also arrested and taken into custody at a city school. Worley said he is facing 18 charges which were not specified at the news conference.
Worley said Brown and the juvenile were served with warrants yesterday, noting that Brown is already in custody on unrelated charges.
According to a BPD press release, Brown was arrested on Aug. 2 in the 2800 block of Montebello Terrace, in reference to unrelated charges for an attempted murder and handgun violation charge and was being held at the Central Booking Intake Facility.
The charging document provided by the State’s Attorney’s Office said Brown was arrested on an open warrant on August 8. A Glock handgun loaded with an extended magazine was found in the basement of the home, the document said.
Asked if he was frustrated by his agency’s inability so far to identify and charge anyone with the killings of Gonzales and Fagbemi, Worley replied emphatically, “Not at all.”
“I think they’ve done a fabulous job with the size of the crime scene and the accomplishments they’ve made,” he said. “It’s been two months, which is a long time, but as far as a large investigation, it isn’t a long time.”
Asked what has prevented them from making key arrests for the shootings, Worley again cited the complexity of the investigation.
“There were multiple shooters – over 10, probably – and we have no ballistics evidence that could possibly direct us to them right this second,” he said.
Asked if all of the shooters have been identified, Worley said, “We’re still trying to figure out who each and every one of them was because, obviously, there’s hundreds of hours of video, ballistics evidence, witness interviews to identify every single one.”
The others previously arrested in the case include a juvenile taken into custody on July 7 who was seen on social media reportedly pulling a gun out of a backpack earlier on the night of the shootings.
He is charged with possession of a firearm by a minor, assault weapon possession, reckless endangerment and handgun in vehicle.
His attorney says the gun seen in the cellphone video – which apparently has not been recovered by police – was a Orbeez toy gun.
The other person previously charged, 18-year-old Tristan Brian Jackson, also was not linked to the murdered teenagers or the other 28 shooting victims.
Jackson is accused of firing five bullets in the vicinity of seven people who were fleeing from the party after the initial volley of bullets.
Brown was earlier listed in Jackson’s charging documents as the unidentified “non-fatal victim” who led police to Jackson after Brown was arrested on an unrelated charge and was interviewed by detectives on August 8.
Brown allegedly was with Jackson, fleeing from the initial gunshots, when Jackson shot in the direction of seven individuals who were also fleeing from the scene. The shots were reportedly captured by a surveillance camera.
Asked, given the challenges of the crime scene, when police would consider their investigation concluded, Worley said, “When we find everyone who pulled the trigger that night and contributed to 30 people wounded or killed.”
“It may go on for a year – until every lead is run out,” he added.
Worley disputed a report in The Brew on Monday that his agency had “circled the wagons” and had resisted involvement in the Brooklyn Homes investigation by federal law enforcement.
Those reports are “both inaccurate and irresponsible,” Worley said, as a representative of the FBI and two representatives the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives stood at his side.
None of them was asked to speak.
Mayor Brandon Scott, addressing reporters, pointed to the “After-Action Review” his administration released yesterday that spotlighted multiple examples of government failures, including “officer indifference” ahead of the tragedy.
“Yesterday, rightfully so, we were focused on accountability of city government and anyone who showed indifference to their duties,” Scott said.
“Today, we’re here to talk about accountability for the reckless individuals who decided to pick up a gun and start shooting without any regard for the lives of those around them.”
Officials noted that the police department has raised the reward for information in the killings of Fagbemi and Gonzalez to $88,000.
– Mark Reutter contributed to this story.
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