Burger Bar Boys-linked thug jailed for 27 years after spate of Birmingham shootings
A thug with links to the notorious Burger Bar Boys gang was today jailed for 27 years after admitting his part in a series of turf war shootings across the city centre, which left a total of eight people injured.
Reial Phillips was at the heart of a series of shootings across the city in 2015, Birmingham Crown Court heard, that were part of an on-going feud between rival gangs in the city.
It escalated when members of opposing factions uploaded rap videos online to taunt one another.
Reial Phillips, 20, from Musgrave Road, Winson Green pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life, possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence, and possessing ammunition.
He also admitted to conspiracy to supply cocaine and heroin. He was today jailed for 18 years for the firearm offences and nine years for the drugs offences; the sentences will run consecutively.
Ashai Gray, 22, from Willes Road, Winson Green admitted conspiracy to supply cocaine and heroin. He was given a nine year sentence.
Phillips and Gray had links to the notorious Burger Bar Boys Gang, which targeted rival Johnson Crew members. Both men were believed to be the 'armed response' faction of the gang, police said.
The first reported shooting in the city was on July 20, 2015 in Nursery Road, Newtown at a barbecue where a 16-year-old boy was shot in the back.
Police investigating the shooting were met with a 'wall of silence' and no complaint was made to officers.
A second shooting happened few days later, on July 25 inside the Electric Club in Hurst Street, when two men were shot in the leg.
Rap videos uploaded online following the incident caused further tension between the groups, police said.
On August 29, Phillips' car was targeted in a shooting in Devonshire Street, Winson Green. No complaint was made to police.
A further incident linked to Phillips occurred on September 15 in Hunters Road, Birmingham. Police were not called, but following searches a bullet was found underneath a parked car.
A breakthrough came in September 2015, when police stopped a car carrying Phillips and Gray on the M5. Inside, officers found balaclavas, gloves and stab vests.
This led to searches of their homes in Winson Green, which recovered large amounts of drugs, cash, ammunition and a gun.
Both men were arrested, Gray was remanded into custody and Phillips was bailed while inquiries continued.
On September 26, there was another video uploaded onto YouTube, which encouraged gang-related violence.
On October 10, four men were shot at Costcutters in Great Hampton Row, Newtown.
Three refused to make a statement, but a fourth, who was shot in the leg did report it to police. Following a police investigation, Phillips was arrested on October 14 and further drugs were found in his vehicle.
Today Det Supt Mark Payne said: "For a period of time last year these men and their associates brought fear to the people of the West Midlands through their actions.
"Members of the public should feel reassured that these men have been handed lengthy custodial sentences… it shows the courts and police are united in a strong message that illegally held firearms are totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated on the streets of the West Midlands.
"Our officers are working around the clock to close-in on individuals or gangs who bring fear to our communities. We're disrupting crime networks, seizing weapons and punishing people who believe they can carry firearms with impunity.
"There must be no let-up in our approach to tackling firearms."
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