Five Gang Members Charged With Attempted Murder After Stray Bullet Wounded NYPD Cop: Feds

By Kevin Deutsch

Five members of a Bronx drug gang were charged with attempted murder and gun crimes Wednesday in connection with the wounding of an off-duty NYPD officer last year, according to federal officials.

Prosecutors said four of the alleged members of the “Jack Boyz” gang–Patrick Avila, Jalen Colds, Nazae Blanche, Donnell Jenkins–were taken into custody Wednesday. A fifth member, Leon Smalls, remains at large, officials said.

The Jack Boyz have carried out numerous shootings, robberies, and drug deals in and around the Bronx, retaliating against rival gangs “to promote the standing and reputation of the Jack Boyz, and to protect the gang’s narcotics business,” federal prosecutors said.

The NYPD officer was wounded Oct. 30 as the five gang members allegedly fired guns at rivals in an enemy crew at East 137th Street and Brown Place, officials said.

At least fourteen bullets were fired between the groups, leaving four vehicles struck by gunfire and one local resident’s window pierced by a stray round, police said after the incident. Another stray round went through the driver’s side window of the officer’s car, grazing his chest as he drove home from work with a fellow cop, police said.

The officer, assigned to the 43rd Precinct at the time, was treated and released from a Bronx hospital, officials said.

The five accused gang members were awaiting arraignment in Manhattan federal court Wednesday. It was not immediately clear whether they had attorneys.

About Kevin Deutsch 215 Articles
Kevin Deutsch is a Staff Writer for Bronx Justice News covering the criminal justice system, drugs, and DNA use by law enforcement. An award-winning journalist, Deutsch is the author of the true crime books "Pill City" and "The Triangle." He has worked on staff at the Daily News, Miami Herald, Newsday, The Palm Beach Post, and The Riverdale Press. His work has also appeared in Newsweek, Columbia Journalism Review, The New York Times, The Village Voice, The Forward, The Independent, Huffington Post, Orlando Sentinel, and the New York Post, among other publications. His numerous television appearances include spots on CNN, MSNBC, and C-SPAN's BookTV. He has also been featured in The New Yorker. A Bronx resident, Deutsch hosts the true crime podcast "A Dark Turn" on the Authors on the Air Global Radio Network.