Four teenagers arrested over gang rape at New York playground

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - Two of five men suspected of raping a woman at a Brooklyn playground turned themselves in on Sunday (Jan 10) evening, while two others have been apprehended and one is still at large.

The four in custody ranged in age from 14 to 17 and charges were pending, according to a police statement.

The police said on Saturday that the five men took turns raping the 18-year-old woman at the playground operated by the New York City Parks Department in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn just after 9pm local time on Thursday while she was walking with her father. One man pointed a gun at the father and told him to leave, police said.

After the father left, the men each assaulted the woman, the police said.

The police released surveillance video taken in a nearby bodega that they said showed the five suspects before the attack. The video depicts a group of black men in jackets and sweatshirts talking and laughing inside the store.

A police spokesman confirmed in an e-mail that two of the suspects had turned themselves in on Sunday, but he declined to provide more information.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio on Sunday denounced the rape, pledging that the police would work to swiftly apprehend the suspects.

"We will take every step possible to find and swiftly prosecute the assailants of this vicious crime," Mr de Blasio said in a statement. "Every New Yorker in every neighbourhood deserves to feel safe and protected, and we will not stop until the perpetrators of this disturbing attack are held accountable for their actions."

Mr De Blasio and his police commissioner, Mr Bill Bratton, have faced criticism over the perception that major crime is rising in America's most populous city.

Major crimes reported dropped 1.7 per cent last year and by 5.8 per cent since Mr de Blasio took office two years ago. But some categories have increased, according to a report issued earlier this month. Rapes were up 6.3 per cent last year.