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Young Guns: Teen shooting incites calls to end gun pipeline

Nayaba Arinde | 3/27/2014, 6 a.m.
Shots rang out on a city bus as people were going about their business. A young father lay dying, and ...
M15 bus Photo by Lem Peterkin

“How does a 14-year-old obtain a handgun?” asked Jackie Rowe Adams, co-founder of Harlem Mothers SAVE.

March 20 was the first day of spring, a warm day considering the heavy storms the city has been enduring over the last few weeks. Folks were ready to get into their pre-summer rituals.

But shots rang out on a city bus as people were going about their business. A young father lay dying, and a teen with some sort of perceived beef was holding the smoking gun.

Kahton Anderson, 14, the alleged shooter, is reportedly a member of the Stack Money Goons gang based out of the Tompkins Houses in Brooklyn. He was on the B15 bus in Bedford-Stuyvesant when he spotted a rival gang member from Marcy Houses’ Twan Family. Apparently, Anderson fired his .357 Magnum but missed his intended target, instead hitting Angel Rojas, 39, in the back of the head. Prosecutors say that Anderson fled the bus and kept on shooting from the sidewalk.

Detective James Duffy told the AmNews that the shooting took place at about 6:20 p.m. in the vicinity of Lafayette Boulevard and Marcus Garvey Boulevard. “Upon arrival, responding officers discovered the victim, a 39-year-old male who was a passenger on the B15 MTA bus, with a gunshot wound to his head. EMS also responded to the location and transported the victim to Woodhull Hospital, where he was pronounced DOA [dead on arrival]. A male was taken into custody at the scene, and a firearm was recovered. The investigation is ongoing,” said Duffy.

On Friday night, Anderson, 14, was charged as an adult with second-degree murder for the shooting of Rojas, plus criminal possession of a weapon and criminal use of a firearm. At press time, he was indicted. He is being held without bail after he “made statements to police … admitting his participation in the crime,” said prosecutor Lindsay Gerdes.

Police Commissioner William Bratton said, “The stupidity of those gangs [is] that basically, over nothing, [they] are trying to kill each other and unfortunately, in the process, kill innocents, as they did with this hard-working young man trying to raise his family. A life needlessly lost, taken by a 14-year-old who felt it necessary to carry a gun on a city bus and shoot it.”

The uproar has been instant, and the sense of sadness and frustration in the Bed-Stuy neighborhood is omnipresent. As shots rang out, people hit the deck in homes, the nearby supermarket and stores.

“Brooklyn mourns the tragic loss of Angel Rojas, another victim of senseless gun violence in our borough,” charged Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, a former lieutenant in the New York Police Department. “Our community is coming together in this time of grief to comfort and to demand better from each other. We need to work together, in partnership with our men and women in blue, to root out gang violence and point our young people toward positive behavior. There is no reason none—that a 14-year-old child should have a gun, and we should not be satisfied until we ensure that reality is a violent memory of the past.”