NEW YORK — Four people were shot to death and four more wounded in a Saturday morning bloodbath inside an illegal Brooklyn gambling den, with cops arriving to find playing cards still on the table amidst the bodies, police said.
A suspect was already in custody for the Crown Heights quadruple homicide, with a high-ranking police source telling the New York Daily News that cops believe he was either the triggerman or played some other role in the killings. The shooting spree apparently started in a dispute over a card game, the source added.
As many as 15 shots were fired inside the first-floor Triple A Aces Club on Utica Avenue near Dean Street around 7 a.m., with the slain victims all dead at the scene, said NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea.
“A bit of a chaotic scene,” said Shea. “ … We have some individuals back at the 77th Precinct, and we’re trying to piece together exactly what transpired.”
Cops recovered a 9 mm pistol and a revolver at the crime scene, and were searching for more weapons.
Three gunshot victims survived and a fourth patron suffered a minor leg injury trying to flee the carnage, according to Shea. The wounded were taken to Kings County Hospital and Brookdale Medical Center, with all expected to survive.
Cops said the ages of those shot ranged from 32 to 49 years old, and two of the victims were from out of state. The identities of the dead were withheld pending notification of relatives, police said.
“The audacity of the shooter,” said local resident Dawn Bradshaw. “It’s just shocking because it’s a block away from a precinct.”
Triple A Aces bills itself as a “private and social rental space” for “food, fun and entertainment” according to a sign above the door.
Building owner Samuel Revells said he leases the cramped first-floor space to a man who rents the spot out for birthday parties and other events. Revells insisted he was unaware of any illegal activities inside the club.
“I don’t know what to say, I don’t know what happened,” he told the Daily News. “It’s not my operation. I understand people got killed there and it’s crazy and I’m very upset, very upset.”
He described the man as “a stand-up guy,” adding that there were no complaints in the two years since the tenant began renting the location. Revells said he was trying to contact the man about the killings.
“I feel very bad about what happened,” he said.
NYPD Chief of Patrol Rodney Harrison confirmed there were no recent complaints involving the property, with “no activity or concerns from this location.”
But the city Department of Buildings did receive two complaints back in 2008 claiming the first floor of the residential property was being used as a nightclub. Both issues were later resolved, public records show.
One complaint noted that the nightclub was open seven days a week, from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Monday through Friday, and from 2 p.m. to 4 a.m. on the weekends, city records show.
Neighbors watched in shock as their Saturday morning was interrupted by sirens and police descending on the scene.
“It’s sad,” local resident Steve Pruitt, 59, said. “Whoever did that shooting … (he) didn’t care about anything.”
The shooting prompted immediate condemnation from City Hall and elected officials.
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it until I can’t anymore: We have an epidemic of gun violence that spares no community — and it won’t stop until we get guns off our streets once and for all,” tweeted Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams issued a call to “combat the surge in gun violence we are seeing in certain precincts, including the 77th.”