Two men were convicted Monday of murdering 21-year-old Flushing native Maurice Parker, who was mistaken for a gang member, on the streets in Flushing May 18, 2007.
Oscar “Taz” Fuentes, leader of the New York state chapter of the international MS-13 street gang, also known as La Mara Salvatrucha, and Julio “Flecha” Chavez, a leader of the Huntington, L.I., chapter of the gang, were found guilty of driving through the streets of Flushing that day, looking to shoot rival gang members, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.
At about 12:30 p.m. the defendants saw two young men — Parker, who was talking on his cellphone at the time, and one of his friends — standing in front of El Boom Convenience Store at 41-80 Bowne St., according to the U.S. attorney’s office.
Parker’s friend was wearing a red sweatshirt, a color often seen on members of the rival Bloods street gang. Chavez, 25, and another gang member jumped from the car Fuentes, 30, was driving, ran up to the men and Chavez shot Parker six times, including three times in the head, according to the U.S. attorney’s office for the Eastern District. Parker died at the scene. Both were convicted by a jury at federal court in Brooklyn of murder and using a firearm in furtherance of the murder, and Fuentes was also convicted of possessing a firearm with an obliterated serial number.
“Today’s verdicts should remind street gangs of the dire consequences of committing acts of violence in this district,” U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said in a statement. “While we can only hope that the verdicts will provide some measure of closure to the family of a young man killed indiscriminately, the convictions have ensured that the defendants will never again walk the streets of our city.”
With hundreds of local members, MS-13 is the largest street gang on Long Island and has a presence in Queens, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.
“MS-13 relishes violence and preys on our youth,” U.S. Attorney Benton Campbell said at the March 19, 2009, arraignment of Fuentes and Chavez. “On a night when gang members decided to go hunting for a victim on the streets of Queens, Maurice Parker was murdered simply for standing in the wrong place at the wrong time. These gangs have no place in our communities.”
Parker’s slay shocked the Flushing community, and a rally against gang violence in the days after his death drew hundreds.
Parker, who attended Flushing High School, had just moved back to Queens from Maryland months before he was killed after finishing trade school near Baltimore. He was an avid basketball player and aspiring hip-hop lyricist who friends, who knew him as “Moe Greazy,” said was constantly practicing his musical trade.
MS-13 began in Los Angeles, most likely in the 1980s, as refugees fled El Salvador’s bloody, decades-long civil war. Its influence has grown rapidly over the last two decades, both domestically and abroad, according to authorities, and the gang has built a reputation as a powerful and ruthless crime conglomerate.
Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at csheets@cn
©2011 Community News Group
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