Harlem kids proudly aligning with violent gangs

Children as young as 8 have openly declared their allegiances to local gangs tied to an estimated 50 shootings, police say.

Meet the gangbangers of tomorrow.

Baby-faced wannabes — some as young as 8 — have avowed their allegiance to Harlem’s violent cliques, unswayed by the big-ticket takedown of rival youth crews last week.

Bright-eyed youngsters living in and around the warring public housing clusters loudly declared their ambition: to become hardened hoodlums.

“I am joining O.T.V,” said one slender 10-year-old, using the initials for Only the Ville while he shot hoops one recent weeknight in the Manhattanville Houses, where an adult was a rare sight. “I am going to school and will become one of them.”

Anti-violence advocate Iesha Sekou, head of Harlem’s Street Corner Resources, took the Daily News on a nighttime tour of the three battling territories at the center of the June 4 early-morning police raid.

Boys — and girls dressed as boys — ran unsupervised throughout the Manhattanville and Grant Houses, where an age-old feud has fueled scores of shootings in recent years and claimed the lives of two 18-year-olds, including high-school basketball star Tayshana (Chicken) Murphy in September 2011.


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