Home News Brooklyn gang member gets 50 years to life for toddler’s stray-bullet killing

Brooklyn gang member gets 50 years to life for toddler’s stray-bullet killing


A child-murdering Brooklyn gang member who fatally shot a 22-month-old boy in his stroller in 2020 will spend the next 50 years to life behind bars.

Dashawn Austin, 28, and two of his fellow Hoolie Gang members learned their fates at a sentencing before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on Wednesday, after they were convicted in a pair of trials last month.

Little Davell Gardner Jr. was sitting in a stroller on July 12, 2020, outside the Raymond Bush Playground on Madison St. in Bedford-Stuyvesant, when Austin and a second shooter, looking to add to the death count of a bloody gang war, opened fire.

Dashawn Austin, left, and Akeem Artis have been convicted in the stray-bullet killing of 22-month-old Davell Gardner Jr. (Brooklyn District Attorney's Office)
Dashawn Austin, left, and Akeem Artis have been convicted in the stray-bullet killing of 22-month-old Davell Gardner Jr. (Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office)

One of his bullets tore into the toddler’s stomach, and Davell spent some of his final moments in his mother’s arms on a final car ride to Interfaith Medical Center. He was buried in a Cocomelon-themed coffin.

“[Austin] prepared for that shooting. Grouping up. Changing clothes. And making sure he had reinforcements,” Assistant D.A. Michael Diamond wrote in an April 22 letter to the judge. “This wasn’t an accident. This wasn’t a mistake. Defendant Austin did everything he could to kill that night. This was a mass shooting [at] a family barbecue.”

Austin was convicted of Davell’s murder, as well as the March 3, 2020 murder of 900 Gang rival Janile Whitted.

Akeem Artis, 27, who drove Austin to the cookout, was found guilty of first-degree manslaughter and attempted assault but acquitted of murder. Chun sentenced him to 40 years Wednesday.

Travis Scott (Brooklyn District Attorney's Office)
Travis Scott (Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office)

Travis Scott, 36, who was convicted of murder for the Dec. 4, 2018 shooting death of 35-year-old Tyree Walker,  and attempted murder for shooting and paralyzing another man, 23, that night, was sentenced to 40 years to life.

Fellow Hoolie Gang member Jayquan Lane, 31, who was also convicted of Whitted’s murder, will be sentenced June 18.

“Today’s lengthy sentences must send a message to those engaged in gun violence that it will not be tolerated in Brooklyn,” Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez said Wednesday. “Senseless gang rivalries perpetrated by these defendants left six people injured and three people dead. … Little Davell never got to celebrate his second birthday.”

 

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