DCR New York: A party bus with guns gets pulled over in Brooklyn. ☕☕☕

Ayyyeee… What’s Goodie Everyone. So I got some tea and it involves a party bus that had guns getting stopped by the police.

40 people gathered in a large white party bus Thursday night, celebrating a birthday as the bus roamed Brooklyn and made its way to Times Square. Some in the crowd shared pictures on social media, posing with firearms while on the bus and police officers took notice. For more than three hours, investigators surveilled the rolling party as it traveled from Brooklyn to Manhattan and then to the Dumbo neighborhood of Brooklyn.

On Friday, the police stopped the bus near Front and York Streets, recovering eight loaded handguns and arresting 14 people, including three juveniles, on weapons possession charges. Officials are now investigating ties between some of the revelers arrested and Brooklyn’s Road to Riches gang, according to a law enforcement official briefed on the investigation. The arrests on Friday underscored the prevalence of illegal guns on the city’s streets that the police say are fueling a spike in shootings. Since last year, the police have grappled with an increase in guns in parts of the city, some already devastated by the pandemic.

New York City has seen a rise in gun violence even though other violent crimes have fallen. The city reported 1,531 shootings in 2020, according to data from the police, nearly double the previous year’s total, though overall crime numbers in the city remained well below the violence of the 1980s and 1990s. Shootings in the city are up compared with last year from 88 to 104 as of February 7, according to the data. But some experts say yearly comparisons can be misleading, particularly amid the pandemic.

Officials are now investigating ties between some of the revelers arrested and Brooklyn’s Road to Riches gang, according to a law enforcement official briefed on the investigation.

Assistant Chief Miguel Iglesias said on Friday afternoon while standing in front of a backdrop of a photo of the weapons recovered the night before. “We need all of you, community members, clergy and business owners and also our families to help us work and get guns off the streets every day.”

Cheif Iglesias said that the arrests came after officials began to “hear rumblings” just after 9 p.m. on Thursday that several passengers on board were carrying firearms. Investigators then began to trail it from Brooklyn into Manhattan, he added, and monitored the vehicle for more than three hours. After the bus had re entered Brooklyn, Chief Iglesias said, officers with the violent crimes squad waited for a “tactical safe location” before ordering it to stop about a half an hour after midnight. Inside, investigators found an arsenal that included six 9 millimeter handguns, one .380 caliber and one .22 caliber firearm and 58 rounds of ammunition, Chief Iglesias said. Investigators were still determining Friday afternoon whether additional passengers would face criminal charges, Chief Iglesias said. The bus operating company, Party Bus Express, did not return requests for comment on Friday.

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