Alleged North Philly gang members face charges

District Attorney Larry Krasner speaks Tuesday, May 23, about an investigation into North Philadelphia’s “Big Naddy Gang.”
Jack Tomczuk

Members of a North Philadelphia gang carried out a series of shootings – leaving two people dead and five injured – to fulfill a “desire to seek notoriety and infamy,” prosecutors allege.

Following a grand jury investigation, the District Attorney’s Office approved charges against four young men accused of being tied to “Big Naddy Gang,” or BNG, a group that mainly operates in the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood, officials said Tuesday.

All of the suspects – Dontae Sutton, Jamir Brunson-Gans, Elijah Soto and Khalil Henry – were already behind bars when the new cases were opened. Investigators said the men are responsible for at least five separate shootings that occurred between July and October 2021.

From left: Dontae Sutton, Jamir Brunson-Gans, Elijah Soto and Khalil HenryPhiladelphia Police

Prosecutors said BNG is named for Namir Johnson, a 15-year-old known as “Big Naddy” who was fatally shot two years ago in North Philadelphia. The gang’s violence appears to be driven by past conflicts, perceived disrespect and self-promotion on social media, DA Larry Krasner told reporters.

“Sadly, after Big Naddy was murdered, people who knew him, people who liked him decided the best thing to do was more murders,” Krasner added.

The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives aided the investigation into BNG, particularly through its national ballistic imaging database, authorities said.

The DA’s Office charged Sutton with attempted murder for a July 2021 shooting that injured two men in Strawberry Mansion.

In September of that year, Brunson-Gans allegedly shot someone in the same neighborhood, and, a day later, Brunson-Gans and Soto killed 19-year-old Jordan Murray on the 2200 block of W. Huntingdon Street, Assistant District Attorney Joseph Lanuti said.

A couple of weeks later, Soto, Sutton and Henry fatally shot 33-year-old Jerrick Jenkins on the 2900 block of York Street, according to prosecutors.

None of the victims in the shootings were involved in rival gangs, Lanuti said.

Philadelphia DAO

Henry and Sutton, both now 19, are also charged in connection with an October 2021 shooting in North Philadelphia that left two people wounded. Authorities investigating that case arrested the pair earlier this year.

Lanuti said Brunson-Gans, 20, has been in custody in relation to a separate gun case, and Soto, 18, was arrested in April and charged with illegally possessing a firearm and cocaine distribution, according to court records.

Attorney information for the suspects’ new cases was not available Tuesday. All four are facing at least one murder charge and are being held without bail.