NEW YORK -- (WPIX) -- In a surprise move this week, the Kings County District Attorney freed from jail four of five teens arrested in connection with the alleged gunpoint gang rape of an 18-year-old at a Brooklyn park.
On Friday, District Attorney Kenneth Thompson explained to PIX11 News why he made this decision and what it means for the case going forward.
“It's clear that this case is a top priority for my office,” Thompson said. “It's a top priority for the NYPD and we're going to look at every piece of evidence in the case. All aspects of the case are under investigation.”
Calling the case “very complex,” Thompson said his office needs more time to gather and examine the evidence before they can make their next move. He said his office was not ready to go before a grand jury Thursday so, pushed by state law, he made the “difficult decision” to free the boys.
“We are determined to get to the truth about what happened in that park,” Thompson said.
All but one of the teenage suspects were released Thursday, one of them without bail. A fifth suspect – 15-year-old Shaquelle Cooper – will not be released, authorities said. He's being held on a different case from October in which a man was severely beaten —pummeled, kicked and hit repeatedly with a bat.
The teens — ages 14, 15, 15, 17 and 17 — had been charged as adults, each with one count of rape, two counts of criminal sex act, and one count of sex abuse in connection with the Jan. 7 assault.
At about 9 p.m. on the night of the attack, the young woman was with her father at Osborne Park in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn when a group of five teens came up to them, according to police.
The father, who was the first to report the incident, told police one of the boys pulled out a gun and ordered him to leave. He did and that's when the suspected attackers took turns raping the 18-year-old, according to police.