An uptick of shootings in a decades-old war between two of Philadelphia's most violent gangs led to eight arrests Wednesday by a joint task force of state and city law enforcement.
Those arrested, all in their early 20s, were charged with murder related to two shootings in December 2017, according to officials with the state Attorney General's Gun Violence Task Force.
The suspects are allegedly members of Grays Ferry neighborhood gangs associated with their locations: 27th Street and 31st Street. A feud dating back many years between the gangs has long made the South Philadelphia neighborhood one of the most dangerous in the city.
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Attorney General Josh Shapiro, in announcing the arrests, said that the gangs were responsible for 43 shooting incidents in a 13-month period, from January 2017 through February 2018. A total of 35 shooting victims, including three people killed, were hurt in the violence.
"Members of these violent groups in Grays Ferry identify themselves based on their vicinity, based on their turf," Shapiro said. "The retaliatory violence between 27th Street and 31st Street is fueled by petty slights, posts on social media, and generational grudges."
One of the victim's of the ongoing violence was Nasir Livingston, 17, who was shot to death inside a Chinese takeout store at 27th and Dickinson streets. He lived a block away.
The South Philadelphia High School student's murder on Dec. 19, 2017, is one of two shootings that led to the arrests.
His shooting, along with an alleged retaliatory shooting eight days later, on Dec. 27, 2017, are what law enforcement used to charge the suspects.
Two men, Khalid Harrison, 22, and Mujihad Deen, 20, are charged with Livingston's killing. Five others, Markesha Hines-Washington, 22, Nasir Evans, 20, Montez Burke, 22, Alexis Hodge, 21, and Galvison Morris, 21, are charged in connection with the retaliatory shooting. An eighth person, Nyseem Smith, 21, was also arrested on unrelated charges. Smith is alleged to be a member of the 31st Street gang.