Man arrested in shooting death of NYC 1-year-old last year

May 6, 2021 GMT

NEW YORK (AP) — A suspect has been arrested in the killing of a toddler who was shot dead when gunmen fired into a cookout in Brooklyn last summer, police said Thursday.

Dashawn Austin, 25, was arrested Wednesday on charges including murder and attempted murder in the shooting that killed 1-year-old Davell Gardner and wounded three other people on July 12, 2020.

It wasn’t clear whether Austin had an attorney who could comment on the charges against him.

Police said two men stepped out of a sport utility vehicle and opened fire into a barbecue at a playground in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. Davell was sitting in his stroller when he was fatally shot in the stomach. Three men were hit by gunshots and were treated at hospitals.

“This is a powerful moment of justice,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said during a virtual news briefing Thursday, calling Davell’s death “the most heartbreaking thing in the world.”

The little boy’s death shocked New York City as shootings rose during the early months of the coronavirus pandemic.

Austin is one of 18 suspected Hoolie street gang members charged in an indictment announced Thursday. Ranging in age from 19 to 33, they are accused of various crimes, including three other killings and four non-fatal shootings that prosecutors say stemmed from clashes with a rival gang.

Eleven defendants were arrested Wednesday, six were in custody on other charges and one remains at large, prosecutors said.

The investigation is ongoing, police said.