On Wednesday, March 4th, 2009, “00” brazenly put all of Newburgh on official notice that he was back with a vengeance, settling an old score in typically brutal BLOOD fashion. While he had been a member of and then leader of the Newburgh BLOODs since sometime in 2006, this latest power move by Boykin shocked the senses of even the most numbed and jaded Newburgh resident. The local Times Herald-Record, in a story by local beat reporter Doyle Murphy, ran the following headline the next day: “Newburgh Ex-Con Slain By Masked Gunman.”
The story related the following harrowing details of how the then-unidentified gunman chased the terrified victim into a local juke joint, patiently waiting while the scared shitless and doomed man failed in his attempts to use a bystander as a human shield, then calmly closed the distance between them, squeezing off two rounds into Lamont “City” Young’s face.
“00” had sent a message. And the message reverberated throughout Newburgh and beyond in the “bucolic” Lower Hudson Valley region of New York State. Newburgh, New York. The BLOODS were back … with a vengeance. And aside from their internecine squabble for territorial control of the ‘Burgh with the pesky Latin Kings, they had effectively choked off and pushed out all the other neighborhood-based gangs in Newburgh. Yes, there were still small enclaves and vestiges of La Eme (Mexican Mafia), Benkard Barrio Kings, and other assorted rabble, but the BLOODs were now atop the dung heap. Led by the fierce, unquestioned, and indomitable “00,” a new era of singular gang dominance was engulfing the ‘Burgh.
I shuddered as I read numerous press accounts of the brazen assassination the following morning. My thoughts were tortured — Why couldn’t we get a handle on this? We needed a break…
Then, into my office strode Stevie B., who had just returned from the Orange County Coroner’s Office in possession of the autopsy photos of “City.” I had certainly ingested my fair share of “death and destruction,” the incredible inhumanity humans meted out to other humans, during my some thirty-three years in the USG, but these evidence photos were particularly gruesome and hard to stomach. Young’s face was paralyzed in death, the fear indelibly still etched on his visage, and the viewer could almost sense the horror of his last moments alive. The wounds were telling, as well. They were almost contact shots. The brazen killer moving in so close to ensure his deadly intentions were fully realized, the powder burns were clearly evident on the victim’s contorted face.
The detective who had laid the photos out on my desk broke the silence: “This is the work of “00,” Boss. I know it. I feel it. And I’m going to prove it.”
No idle boasting from Stevie B. I had a feeling in my gut, as well, that the perp was “00,” but as well as I knew the ‘Burgh, and the inner-workings of the gangs, I didn’t know them like this street-smart detective did.
“Get to work on this right away. It’s your priority now. We hang this homicide on “00” and we do the unthinkable — we disassemble the BLOODS from the top down. Cut the head off the serpent, Steve, and the body withers and dies.”
Stevie B. smiled, familiar as he was with my penchant for famous quotations and inspirational musings.
“I’m gonna reach out to Mike (the Assistant United States Attorney in charge of the BLOOD prosecution) and “Yoda” (his nickname for Neil D.) and I are headed out to hit the streets for information about the slaying. “Daddy,” (his ball-busting nickname for me) we’re gonna bring this guy down. Mark my words. We’re gonna bring down the leader of the Newburgh BLOODS.”
I nodded in agreement. Steve policed up the autopsy photos, slid them back inside an envelope, and headed out the door. I immediately picked up the phone to inform my bosses down in Manhattan about the recent case developments. As I placed the receiver back in the cradle, I looked up to see a familiar figure in the doorway.
“J-Laz” was one of a handful of seasoned case agents I had assigned to me on Squad C-32. He was one of the few holdovers remaining on the squad since I took the reins in May of 2008. A few had retired after I arrived, some had left as a result of the squad’s restructuring into a violent street gang task force. And some I had removed for “inactivity.” I was a demanding boss to work for. This, I knew. But I fiercely protected the cops and agents who worked for me. What I expected in return was not blind allegiance to me — but fealty to the Bureau’s mission and a real and tangible desire to fight crime, protect the defenseless, and work hard, REALLY hard at all times.
FBI Special Agent J-Laz, seasoned GS-13, Step 10, was the proverbial “old dog,” but where his unique abilities diverged from the proverbial “can’t be taught new tricks”-canine, is that he was super adaptive and he was able to provide a calming influence to my frenetic pace and style of leadership. He was also another consummate ball-buster and was quick with a quip. He kept the squad loose and the squad area a fun place to work. I noticed the serious look on his face, and motioned him in. This wasn’t the usual appearance of J-Laz. He closed the door behind him and took a seat on the ugly green Naugahyde couch that my government office was outfitted with…
“Chief, we gotta talk.”
(continued on next page)