New York police and prosecutors were celebrating what they called the biggest "takedown" of gangs in the city's history, following raids across the Bronx.
With helicopters hovering overhead, 700 police officers searched homes in the Eastchester Gardens housing project, arresting notorious gang members going by nicknames such as Mad Dog, Murder, and Money Making Kenny. A total of 120 suspects were charged with drug trafficking, racketeering and gun crimes, having used a local playground to deal crack cocaine and store their guns. The men, aged 18 to 55, were members of two rival gangs, accused of at least eight murders - including that of a 92-year-old woman, killed in her own home by a stray bullet.
Preet Bharara, United States Attorney for the southern district of New York, said the warring gangs had a "stranglehold" over the community for over a decade, and "did not discriminate" in who they killed.
"If you were in the wrong place at the wrong time, you could be shot, stabbed or killed," he said. "Where gangs proliferate, neighbourhoods suffer, communities weaken and innocent people die."
Geovanni Martin, 21, died while trying to escape from the police. Martin was at the home of one of the gang members, and when he heard the police arrive at 6am, he went out on to the sixth floor window ledge, and fell to his death when he could no longer hold on.
Police began investigating the district in December 2014, in the midst of what Bharara termed a "surge in violence".
Two rival groups - 2Fly and Big Money Bosses or BMB - were engaged in a vicious turf war. 2Fly was the Bronx-based division of the Young Gunnaz gang, which operates throughout New York and specialises in dealing marijuana and cocaine. Headed by 24-year-old Laquan Parrish, known as Mad Dog, he and his lieutenants had made a deal with the Sex Money Murder gang to share control of the playground in Eastchester Gardens, where they based their dealings.
BMB was a faction of the citywide Young Bosses, and the Bronx branch also went by the name Money Making Mafia or MMM. Their main business was dealing marijuana and crack cocaine. Their leader was Nico Burrell, 23, known as Zico Nico.
The area has had an average of one shooting a day for the past five years. Authorities used wire taps to trace the gang members, whose average age was 24, and recorded them bragging about their exploits on social media. Over 100 warrants were made to access their accounts.