NEW HAVEN, CT – Jaquan Gray, 27, of New Haven, described by prosecutors as a member of the so-called “Exit 8” gang, was sentenced to 27 months in prison in federal court on Thursday.
According to a press release from the Acting U.S. Attorney General for Connecticut, the loaded 9mm handgun Gray used in a rival gang shootout last summer.
According to court documents and statements made in court, on July 31, 2020, law enforcement received information that several members of the “Exit 8” group were in possession of firearms near the entrance. of the Essex Townhouses complex at 1134 Quinnipiac Avenue in New Haven, prosecutors said.
Members of the New Haven Police and the FBI’s New Haven Safe Streets / Gang Task Force entered the housing complex around 10 p.m. and identified several members of Exit 8, including Gray, prosecutors said.
Gray fled from the scene when law enforcement arrived and ignored the stop commands. He was quickly apprehended and a search of a fanny pack he was carrying revealed a loaded Smith and Wesson Model 469 9mm handgun, prosecutors said.
The handgun seized from Gray was reported stolen from Hamden in 2018, and the National Interrelated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) determined that it was used in a rival gang shootout in New Haven on July 14, 2020, 17 days before his recovery, according to the US prosecutor.
Gray’s criminal history includes state felony convictions for gun and drug offenses; It is a violation of federal law for someone previously convicted of a felony of owning a firearm or ammunition that has circulated in interstate or foreign commerce, prosecutors said.
Gray has been in custody since his federal arrest on September 1, 2020. On April 30, 2021, he pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a criminal.
Rising gun violence in New Haven
The lawsuit, federal prosecutors noted, is part of a coordinated federal, state and local law enforcement effort to combat the rise in gun violence in New Haven.
New Haven Police Department spokesman Scott Shumway told Patch on Monday that there have been 84 shootings so far this year, 17 of which have been fatal.
The New Haven Police Department is participating in this effort; the FBI New Haven Safe Streets / Gang Task Force; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the New Haven State Attorney’s Office and the United States Attorney’s Office.
Safe Neighborhoods Project Program & Longevity Project
The lawsuits against Gray are part of the Justice Department’s Project Safe Neighborhoods program, and Project Longevity, “the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts,” is an evidence-based program that has proven to be successful. effective in reducing violent crime.
Through PSN, a wide range of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses its enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with local prevention and reintegration programs for sustainable crime reduction.
Project Longevity is a comprehensive initiative to reduce gun violence in large cities in Connecticut. Through Project Longevity, community members and law enforcement engage directly with members of groups prone to violence and deliver a community message against violence, a law enforcement message about violence. consequences of further violence and an offer of help for those who want it.