Searching for the man who killed a 17-year-old in a March double shooting, Detective Christopher Perrone followed a tip to Facebook, and found photos of his suspect posing with a gun and bragging about defending his “squad.”
That was part of the police work that led to the arrest last week of an 18-year-old known as “Nephew Jeff,” or “Neph” (at right in photos).
Neph was arrested last Wednesday and charged with murdering 17-year-old Taijhon Washington. Police say Neph was the gunman who shot Taijhon Washington and his 16-year-old brother Travon Washington on March 24 near Butler and Lilac streets in Newhallville. Travon survived; Taijhon did not.
Police held a Monday morning press conference to formally announce the arrest.
“We all grieve together,” Chief Dean Esserman said.
Barbara Fair (pictured), the cousin of Taijhon’s mother, Natasha Pettigrew, spoke on behalf of the family. “I’m relieved about an arrest, but it doesn’t close the hole in my cousin’s heart.”
Fair said Travon and Taijhon were not in any gang, contrary to media reports. Assistant Chief Archie Generoso stressed that police have not “verified or confirmed” that the brothers were gang members.
According to the arrest warrant affidavit, written by lead Detective Chris Perrone, Neph was involved in a gang-related dispute with the Washington brothers. Police got a tip that Neph and a friend had bragged about the shooting on the social networking site Facebook. The messages were later deleted, but cops were able to obtain images of the original postings from someone who had saved the posts.
“I go crazzy for my sqqquuuaaddddd I go crazzy for my strip,” Neph posted immediately after the shooting, according to the affidavit. That post was followed by pictures of two gun blasts and a gun.
As of Monday, the cover photo on Neph’s Facebook page showed three pictures of him standing with a friend in a mask, who is holding a gun.
Another photo shows Neph with a group of teenagers on Read Street, home of R-2, one of the gangs mentioned in the affidavit as feuding with others.
According to the affidavit, police continued to gather evidence with the help of informants and witnesses.
Cops’ use of social media played a big role in the Operation Bloodline criminal sweep, in which the feds used Facebook and Youtube to implicate suspects in crimes and tie them to gangs. The defense argued that just because someone posts boasts online about big-time gang activity, that doesn’t mean it’s true.
Brothers Arrested In Domestic Assault
In other police news, according to police spokesman Officer David Hartman:
At 3:30 p.m. on Friday, Officers Alex Morgillo and Jeremy Cordero responded to Beacon Avenue on a report of someone stabbed in a home. They found a 28-year-old man bleeding from stab wounds in his chest and back.
“He told the officers he’d been stabbed by his brother after a dispute over 10 dollars,” Hartman said. “He said his brother had fled from the house.”
The man was taken to the hospital.
“Moments later,” Sgt. Vincent Anastasio found the victim’s 27-year-old brother at a nearby gas station. He had also been stabbed, and was taken to the hospital.
The brothers’ mother told cops her sons had argued over money that one had lent to the other buy a car.
Cops charged both brothers with assault, and also charged the younger with carrying a dangerous weapon.