The state’s effort to dismantle Wilmington’s brutal NorthPak gang continued Monday with two members pleading guilty to second-degree murder.
The convictions of Jacari Robinson and Julius Smith, Jr. in the shooting death of Dakevis Reed in the Rosegate area just south of the city raise the total number of convictions against members of NorthPak to more than 80 since a sweeping indictment two years ago.
In 2021, prosecutors charged a total of 15 alleged gang members with more than 120 charges encompassing six murders, plus robberies and firearms offenses.
To date, convictions have been obtained in five of the slayings and 13 of the defendants have been convicted of an array of gang-related crimes, Attorney General Kathy Jennings’s office said in announcing that more prosecutions remain and investigations are ongoing to eviscerate NorthPak and reduce gun and related violence in Delaware’s largest city and its outskirts.
In the killing resolved Monday in Superior Court, Robinson was sentenced to 22 years in prison and Smith received 20 years for the killing of Reed, the wounding of a 17-year-old male, as well firearms and gang participation offenses.
“Violent gangs have been a plague on our city, and they must be held accountable for the lives they’ve taken and the violence they’ve caused,’’ Jennings said in a written statement. “We’re proud of the victories that our team has already won — but we are not slowing down.”
Wilmington police Maj. Anthony Bowers said he hopes the successful prosecutions “will send a clear message that we will remain relentless in our efforts to make our community safer and further reduce gun violence.”
Wilmington has been plagued by gun violence in a handful of low-income neighborhoods that ring downtown for over a quarter-century. In 2017, Mayor Mike Purzycki’s first year in office, a record 202 people were shot, 32 fatally. And in 2021, a record 39 people were killed by bullets on city streets.
The carnage has slowed considerably in the last two years, however. Last year, 107 people were shot, and 18 killed. And this year, with almost eight months elapsed, a total of 72 people have been shot, and eight killed.
Six of this year’s shootings occurred within the last week.
On Saturday night, two men in their 20s and two 42-year-old women were wounded by gunfire in the Southbridge neighborhood. All were hospitalized, one of the men was in critical condition.
Also last week, 47-year-old woman was shot outside a nail salon on Wilmington’s edge shortly before 3 p.m. and then drove to the nearby Cab Calloway School of the Arts and Charter School of Wilmington. Where she emerged from the vehicle, her blood dripping on the sidewalk.
School staffers preparing for the academic year that begins next week rendered her first aid until an ambulance arrived. Police said she arrived at the hospital in stable condition.
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