Birmingham & Black Country

Reial Phillips jailed after Birmingham gang feud shootings

Ashai Gray (l) and Reial Phillips (r) Image copyright West Midlands Police
Image caption Ashai Gray (l) and Reial Phillips (r) had links to the Burger Bar gang, police said

A man has been jailed for 27 years after seven people were injured in a series of shootings during a feud between rival gangs.

Reial Phillips, linked to Birmingham's Burger Bar gang, was "at the heart" of the shootings, targeting rival members of the Johnson Crew, police said.

At Birmingham Crown Court he admitted firearms offences and conspiring to sell cocaine and heroin.

Police said his actions "brought fear" to people in the West Midlands.

Ashai Gray, 22, from Tanacetum Drive in Walsall, also admitted conspiracy to supply cocaine and heroin and was sentenced to nine years in jail.

More updates on this story and others in Birmingham and the Black Country

Both men were among 18 the BBC named in March when they were banned from parts of Birmingham for what police then said were their links to "gun or gang crime".

West Midlands Police said 20-year-old Phillips, of Musgrave Road, Winson Green, and Gray were believed to be the "armed response" faction of the Burger Bar gang.

The shootings occurred over several months last year and escalated when members of the rivals groups uploaded rap videos online to taunt one another, the spokesman said.

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."

The two gangs took their names from two cafes in Handsworth where black youths congregated in the late 80s and early 90s.

Shootings timeline:

  • A 16-year-old boy was shot in the back at a BBQ in Nursery Road, Newtown on 20 July. Police said they faced a "wall of silence" when investigating, despite the boy almost losing his ability to walk
  • On 25 July, two men were shot in the leg inside the Electric Club in Hurst Street. Rap videos uploaded online following the incident "raised tensions"
  • A month later, Phillips' car was targeted in a shooting in Devonshire Street, Winson Green
  • A bullet was found under Phillips' car after "an incident linked to him" in Hunters Road, Birmingham on 15 September
  • Phillips and Gray were arrested later in September when they were stopped in a car on the M5. Balaclavas, gloves and stab vests were found and drugs, ammunition and a gun were recovered from their homes
  • Another online rap video encouraging gang-related violence led to four men being shot at Costcutter in Great Hampton Row, Newtown, police said

Image copyright West Midlands Police
Image caption A gun was recovered from a vehicle close to Phillips' address, police said

Related Topics

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites