Prosecutors: MS-13 member killed classmate who wouldn't hang out with him

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Prosecutors say an MS-13 gang member killed a classmate in a July 2018 shooting because the 17-year-old victim wouldn't hang out with him.

They say 17-year-old Melquisedec Antonio Sanchez-Hernandez gunned down Emilio Sanchez Maldonado outside the victim's East Patchogue home. The boy's lifeless body was found on his bicycle about four hours later, when his father came home from work.

Speaking through a translator, Maldonado's father says he tried to revive his son, but it was too late. Maldonado was shot five times after prosecutors say Sanchez-Hernandez used social media to lure him outside.

Sanchez-Hernandez was arraigned on a murder charge Tuesday in Central Islip court.

The victim and defendant both attended Bellport High School.

Suffolk County District Attorney Tim Sini says the defendant made a statement saying he didn't like the people with whom the victim was hanging out.

"We think the victim was attempting to live a law-abiding life," Sini says.

Maldonado's uncle says the boy was keeping clear of trouble and hanging out with people who protected him.

The DA's Office says the defendant is in the U.S. illegally from El Salvador. A few months after the East Patchogue slaying, prosecutors say he was arrested in Virginia after driving there to attempt to kill a rival gang member. He was released on bond and returned to Bellport, attending school there.

The defendant was held without bail Tuesday. His attorney called him a frightened, confused boy but said he didn't know anything more than that.

Read more:
Police make arrest in 2018 East Patchogue ambush slaying
Suffolk police appeal to public in East Patchogue teen's slaying
East Patchogue teen found fatally shot in front of home

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