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Gang Members as Young as 11 Behind String of UWS Attacks, Police Say

By Emily Frost | December 4, 2015 6:27pm | Updated on December 7, 2015 9:02am
 A string of assaults involving youths from a local gang have happened outside the Joan of Arc complex on West 93rd Street, police said.
A string of assaults involving youths from a local gang have happened outside the Joan of Arc complex on West 93rd Street, police said.
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DNAinfo/Emily Frost

UPPER WEST SIDE — Gang members as young as 11 were involved in a series of violent attacks near a local housing complex last month, including a stabbing and beatings with a scooter and rocks, police said.

In three separate incidents last month, either a group of youths or young people acting alone attacked or stabbed students from a local middle school on West 93rd Street, police said. 

The spree began on Nov. 5, when a 13-year-old female student from M.S. 256 who lives in the Douglass Houses was attacked by a group of four young people, police said. The perpetrators, two boys and two girls, beat her and hit her with rocks outside of 201 W. 93rd St. at 3 p.m., police said. 

The boys, age 11 and 15, are affiliated with a local gang based at Wise Towers and are repeat offenders, said Capt. Marlon Larin, commanding officer of the 24th Precinct. 

One of the four attackers threw an object at the victim and another slapped her in the face, at which point she began fighting back, police said. One of the suspects then pulled her hair and punched her in the face, while another kicked her on the right side of her face and yet another poured rocks on her face while she lay on the ground, police said. 

Police arrested three of the four attackers, but did not release their names. 

A day later, a 16-year-old student at M.S. 258, a member of the same Wise Towers gang that attacked the 13-year-old girl, was walking east on West 93rd Street when he was attacked by an individual at around 3:50 p.m., police said.

The suspect stabbed him three times on the side of his stomach and the right side of his face with a sharp object, police said. The victim has not cooperated in giving police information regarding his attacker. 

Information was not available about the victim's injuries.

Police suspect the stabbing was retaliation for the Nov. 5 attack but can't prove it, Larin noted. 

On Nov. 25, a 15-year-old student at M.S. 256 was walking home from school along West 93rd Street near Amsterdam Avenue when he was beaten with a metal scooter by six youths between the ages of 12 and 17 at around 3:10 p.m, police said.

Police suspect the youths responsible for the attack are members of the same Wise Towers gang.

Three days later, on Nov. 28, police said a fight broke out on West 93rd Street at Amsterdam Avenue involving at least two residents of the Douglass Houses, which runs between West 100 and 103rd streets between Columbus and Manhattan avenues. Police have not been able to identify the perpetrators or link it to the other November incidents. The time of the fight was not immediately available. 

Additionally, an unrelated stabbing not involving students happened inside the school building that houses M.S. 258 and the K-8 Manhattan School for Children during a basketball game on Nov. 25, police said.

A 20-year-old man got in a disagreement with a 21-year-old man during the game, took a knife from his bag and stabbed the victim twice in the abdomen at 8:45 p.m., police said. It is not clear whether either man had any affiliation with the aforementioned gang. The victim is expected to survive, police said. 

A Department of Education spokesman said the game was hosted by a nonprofit organization and did not involve students. The spokesman added that the agency is working with the organization to ensure safety. 

M.S. 256 is a small middle school that offers a French dual-language program and has had three different principals since 2013. The current principal, Brian Zager, did not respond to a request for comment. 

Principal John Curry of M.S. 258, another small middle school that shares the 154 West 93rd St. building, was not immediately available for comment. 

A DOE spokesman said the department is working with the NYPD to ensure students get to and from the building safely.

Regarding the gang assaults, "we’re keeping the presence and the attention on the [Wise and Douglass] houses," Larin said.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that the Nov. 6 stabbing victim attends M.S. 256. He actually attends M.S. 258. The group fight that broke out on Nov. 28 occurred at the corner of West 93rd Street and Amsterdam Avenue, not in front of the school building. 

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