By Sebastien Malo
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Dozens of accused members and associates of a violent gang that pistol-whipped and used hammers to attack rivals of their drug operation were indicted for crimes including a shooting that paralyzed a girl in Brooklyn, authorities said on Thursday.
A crackdown on the Gates Avenue Mafia resulted in a 146-count indictment naming 32 people, all but seven of whom have been arrested, Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson said in a statement. Charges range from conspiracy to sell narcotics and weapons to attempted murder.
The bust was the result of an investigation into the shooting in May of 11-year-old Tayloni Mazyck, who was waiting for her aunt outside a Brooklyn building when she was caught in the crossfire of gang members. Mazyck was left paralyzed from the waist down.
"There is absolutely no reason why an innocent 11-year-old girl should be caught in a hail of bullets while sitting outside with her family on a spring evening and is now paralyzed," Thompson said in the statement.
At a press conference, Thompson stood behind a sprawling display of 29 handguns recovered from the arrests made so far.
In one grisly episode that led to the indictments, three men allegedly broke the knees and ankles of two opponents by savagely beating them with hammers and pistol-whipping them. The assailants eventually shot one of the victims through a couch cushion.
The investigation exposed a criminal network where narcotics such as heroin, cocaine and crack cocaine were not only trafficked on the streets of New York City, but also transported by Greyhound bus to a small upstate New York town, Gloversville.
The operation signaled a determination that police in New York "will not tolerate children being shot on our streets," Police Commissioner William J. Bratton added.
(Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Eric Walsh)