By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
But with hotheads like Ronald "Raw" Stanley taking a more active role, it was impossible to avoid the heat even on the crew's home turf. Stanley lived with his three brothersall of whom ended up going to prisonin 382A Quincy, on the floor beneath their cousins, the Raysors. He fancied himself the heir apparent to the crew. A prolific letter writer who referred to himself as "Prophet," he, more than any other member of the gang, believed there was a cause behind their chaos. "Teddy [police] trying to give niggers life, and dudes [rivals] trying to give niggers death, so we can't be on no solo shit," he wrote to a crew member.
"He's a bad boy," says Savarese. "If he had the chance, he'd kill more people than the plague."
In the summer of 1993, Raw was arrested for gunning down a rival drug dealer on the corner of Tompkins Avenue and Quincy Street. Through court records, Raw learned the case was based on one woman's identification. Deducing that the witness lived near the murder scene, Stanley wrote to other gang members, ordering them to find and kill this "wit bitch." What happened next was revealed later only because some gang members snitched. To his good friend Lyte (later a cooperating witness), Stanley wrote, "I look ahead and see me being out soon, real soon. But this wit bitch can throw shit in the game. So she a threat. What do we do with threats, huh?"
By the summer of 1994, with the trial nearing, Chaka finally gave the word to quiet the witness. Based mostly on wild speculation, the gang decided that Kimmana Reaux, a crack addict who lived on the second floor of a house at 301 Tompkins Avenue, was the "wit bitch." A 16-year-old named Stash, who had been selling crack since he was 14, was recruited for the job. On June 29, 1994, he knocked on the door at 301 Tompkins. A woman opened it but, seeing the gun, tried to close it. Stash pushed his way in, put the gun flush to her forehead, and pulled the trigger. A few days later, he bragged to crew member Shawn Davis: "I killed her. That shit felt good."
"You stupid ass," Davis told him. "You shot the wrong person."
The 51-year-old woman he shot, Jemela Brown, was known in the neighborhood as the "church lady."
On July 12, 1994, Stash and his friend Spank, also 16, were sent back to finish the job. This time, Spank found Reaux; he shot and killed both her and her boyfriend. Wrong again: A woman who lived in the third floor of the house was actually the witness, not Reaux. After she was locked up on a drug charge, effectively blocking the gang from getting at her, Chaka spearheaded an effort to get her mother to sign an affidavit saying that her daughter was with her when the murder happened and was lying. Prosecutors think May-May Raysor also visited her in jail, threatening her. Ultimately, she refused to testify; Raw eventually walked on a mistrial.
By the time Raw rejoined his Quincy Street cohorts in the fall of 1995, however, a task force was putting the finishing touches on the crew's final act.
The investigation had started almost by accident in November 1992, when an officer saw a man entering 317 Quincy Street with a gun. They chased him through the building, only to be chased back out by a pit bull. After shooting the dog, the cops looked around the apartment and found several guns, a bulletproof vest, 2,500 vials of crack, and $2,300 in cash. This was Raw's stash house, government witnesses later confirmed. The cops also found a wooden plank, two feet long by 10 inches wide, with writing on it. "Quincy St. Klan," it said at the top, followed by "CaptainChaka," "2nd in Command May-May," and the names of various "Lt's" (lieutenants).
Brooklyn Homicide North detectives matched the names and nicknames on the board to the real people and started compiling a list of unsolved murders these "Quincy St. Klan" members and their associates were suspected of. The federal agent, speaking on the condition of anonymity, says the list topped 100 if you figured in the dozens of workers who came and went during the crew's 10-year run. Cops thought they could tie at least 34 murders directly to the gang's leadership. (Of those, prosecutors ended up including the most compelling nine in an indictment and introduced six more murders as uncharged acts at trial.)
An informal task force of cops from the NYPD, ATF, and State Attorney General's Office was formed. Later, some of these investigators would try to estimate how much the crew was making. One estimate was $90,000 a week in profits. Another, based on their selling eight to 12 kilos of crack a week, was $130,000 a week, or $6.7 million a year. A prosecutor pegged that figure as high as $9 million a year.
May-May's attorney, Jeremy Schneider, says those estimates were overblown. If the crew was raking it in for all those years, he says, "Where is it? No money was ever found. Where are their vacation homes, their cars, their jewelry?"