A bloody gang war on Staten Island has claimed the lives of four men in just the past month - and investigators are worried that innocent blood could be spilled next.
The victims - all affiliated with the notorious Bloods - were shot as tensions mount between gang members from New Brighton and others from Port Richmond and Mariners Harbor.
Cops are rounding up parolees and fugitives and making more quality-of-life arrests, trying to squeeze criminals for information that could end the violence.
"Right now we're dealing with bad guys, but we still don't want bad guys to get shot," said NYPD Asst. Chief Stephen Paragallo, Staten Island's borough commander.
"And the last thing we want is good people, innocent people, to get shot - especially children," Paragallo said.
The killings started Nov. 7 when a fight over a girl at a party hall set off a chain reaction that ended with Jermaine (Big Den) Dickerson shot dead in an Arlington housing development.
The following week, Earl Mangin - who cops say drove a getaway car in the Dickerson shooting - was shot to death in front of the New Brighton home where he lived with his fiancée and young daughter.
Mangin's mom, Kesserine Fairweather, said she did not think her 23-year-old son's murder was payback. "As far as any retaliation, I'm not aware of that," said Fairweather, an accountant and a real estate associate. "He had nothing to do with that. It was just a coincidence."
Fairweather, 53, said Mangin modeled as a kid and worked in construction.
"We're trying to move forward," added Fairweather, who took in her son's fiancée and 1-year-old girl. "He was my baby."
The bloodshed didn't end with Mangin's death.
Cops believe the murders may be loosely tied to another pair of shootings that happened shortly afterward.
On Nov. 16, Kameek Sears, 24, was found dead in a white Lexus in Arlington, the victim of a drive-by assault.
Sears, who had just served four years in prison for drug possession, appears to have been killed by a former inmate who accused him of "not watching his back" on the inside.
Two days later, Sears' death was settled on the streets, too.
Kyre Henderson, 18, was found shot and killed, his body slumped between two cars in South Beach. He had likely been killed about eight hours before, but residents mistook the sound of gunfire for fireworks.
Cops believe Henderson, who was a passenger in the car that ambushed Sears, was killed as a retaliation for Sears.
Sources say at least two members of the Bloods have skipped town, perhaps fearing they'll be the next victims.
Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan urged witnesses to come forward.
"This violence must and will stop," Donovan said.
"Reporting someone who has an illegal gun is not 'snitching,'" he added. "It just may avoid the tragedies we've seen in other boroughs where innocent victims were struck by stray bullets."
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