CINCINNATI – Suspected gang members, who investigators say are responsible for a recent surge in violence in Avondale, might have been on a path toward a gang war, authorities said.
In all, police targeted 80 people, with about half suspected of being members of the “Savage Gang” and “Valley Boyz.” The first wave of arrests this week netted 41 arrests.
Police will arrest 10 more suspects they plan to arrest in coming months. The gang members are suspected in 117 felonies, including federal gun crimes.
The extensive catalog of violent crimes police said the gang committed demonstrate just how pervasive the gang issue is in Avondale.
District 4 Capt. Mike Neville told WCPO the two gangs pedaled drugs, namely heroin. They also committed robberies tied to drug dealing. The gangs almost exclusively operated in Avondale, with some connections to other gangs in the city, Neville said.
CPD, the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office and the city solicitor’s office launched a probe into the gangs earlier this year, following two homicides on Irving Street and a spike in robberies in the neighborhood. The investigation — which included video surveillance — found the gangs had been trafficking heroin.
Police arrested 15-year-old Dontay White, who investigators believe to be a member of the “Savage Gang,” in the killings of William Moritz on Jan. 20, and DeShawn Hutchinson a week later.
Neville said White bought heroin from Moritz, and came back to rob him because he felt he was "shorted" in the amount of the drug he paid for. The second homicide was a retaliatory killing, Neville said. The gang members were so brazen they posted photos on social media with them brandishing guns and assault rifles.
“The older one, DeShawn Hutchinson, challenged the younger one (White) because of the attention brought on by the first killing — in other words, he was bringing heat to the territory.
“The Savage boy didn’t appreciate that and ended up shooting the Valley Boy,” Neville said.
Insiders may read more about the Savage Gang and Valley Boyz and how the two gangs operated in Avondale. Insiders may learn about the tactics used in the investigation, which police say, significantly disrupted the operations of the two gangs.