Authorities announced Tuesday that nearly two dozen of New York City’s “most dangerous” gang members were arrested following the two-year-old stray bullet killing of an innocent Queens woman.
According to authorities, the 84-count indictment against 23 purported gang members followed March 2021 shooting death of the 37-year-old mother of two Gudelia Vallinas, who was returning from shopping for her family.
Queens District Attorney Deputy Chief Jason Savino called the shooting “extremely awful,” calling Vallinas “our American dream.”
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Vallinas, a Mexican immigrant who cleaned houses, was shot in the head by a stray bullet while heading home in Woodside on March 21, 2021, in shooting investigators said was part of a gang battle.
The two Crips gangs in Woodside and Astoria public housing estates broke out over a narcotics deal in 2018.
Since then, the crews have teased each other on social media and drill rap videos, resulting in drive-by shootings on mopeds and brazen daytime gunfights, investigators said.
“The reckless criminality we saw during this investigation is the kind of lawlessness that has killed law-abiding individuals of New York that have been caught in the crossfire of gang violence,” Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said during the indictment press conference.
“Hip Hop Boys” are the “Rolling Crips” of Astoria Houses. The Woodside Houses’ “True Cash Gettas” is “8 Trey Crip” members, according to the DA’s Office.
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Savino claimed the indictment targets gang “alphas.” 21–40-year-olds were charged.
Prosecutors say 18 men face shooting accusations. Fifteen face attempted murder charges, while the remainder faces conspiracy and other charges.
“Our beautiful Queens is just a bit safer with some of the most dangerous guys in Queens now in custody,” Savino added.
Michael Shepherd, 27, a Woodside Crip, allegedly shot a little girl dancing next to an ice cream truck on June 14, 2020, just after 6:30 p.m.
The indictment alleges that Shepherd and a gang member pulled a gun on a rival Astoria Crip outside a bodega.
A day later, three Astoria Crips—Jaheen Stephenson, 21, Tahji Alexander, 25, and Delante Aiken, 21—entered the Woodside housing complex and opened fire on the competitors in front of other residents, including children.
The gunfight killed Woodside gang member Devine Moore and a bystander.
Prosecutors said the teams fired again inside the Woodside housing complex two months later as residents sat on benches with their small children playing on playgrounds.
The shooting frightened innocent bystanders.
Benaiah Reid and Dajuan Williams, both 19, were charged with Vallinas’ death but not identified in Tuesday’s indictment.
“Her biggest delight was her family,” her father-in-law told The Post of Vallinas immediately after her murder.
The family reported the devoted mom was shot at Broadway and 48th Street, half a block from the first-floor rowhouse apartment where she raised her daughter, 9, and son, 10.
“Gangs plus firearms equal graves and our aim is to be proactive, and not just one gun at a time but to take down these dangerous individuals who are carrying about guns,” Mayor Eric Adams stated at the Tuesday press conference.
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Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said the city “will be back with more cases and more arrests wherever violent offenders endanger our neighborhoods.”
Sewell told reporters, “Other gangs who assume that they too could establish a culture of fear in our city are wrong.”