NEW YORK » Four teenagers were arrested today on charges they gang-raped an 18-year-old woman at a Brooklyn playground, and a fifth suspect was being questioned by detectives, authorities said.
The four boys, one as young as 14, were being held as adults and awaiting arraignment on charges of rape, forcible compulsion, criminal sex act and sexual abuse.
Police identified the suspects as Denzel Murray, 14; Shaquell Cooper and Ethan Phillip, both 15; and 17-year-old Onandi Brown. The fifth teen, also 17, was taken into custody late this morning, police said. He has not been charged or named.
Authorities were told the attack began at about 9 p.m. Thursday after an 18-year-old woman and her 39-year-old father decided to drink beer together near a handball court at a playground residents say usually is quiet and empty at night.
The woman told investigators that a group of teenagers approached the pair in the park and ordered the father to leave. He returned moments later, hurled a bottle at them and then one pulled out a handgun and chased him away, according to the woman’s account.
The father, who didn’t have a cellphone, said he wandered around for several minutes in a futile attempt to get help. He said he went into a store, but a merchant refused to let him use a telephone. After about 15 minutes, the father flagged down two police officers, who found the woman wandering the playground.
Investigators did an extensive search for witnesses but came up empty, police said. On Saturday, they located a security videotape they said showed the suspects entering a deli and released it that night with a request for the public’s help in locating them. Police said Monday that no gun had been recovered.