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MS-13 Gang Member Sentenced For Attack That Left Teen Paralyzed

Federal Court in Brooklyn.
Federal Court in Brooklyn. Photo Credit: File

A Long Island gang member will spend more than 25 years behind bars for the attempted murder of a rival teenage gang member who was left paralyzed after being shot in the face.

Kevin Paniagua, a member of the Centrales Locos Salvatruchas clique of the MS-13 street gang, was sentenced in Brooklyn federal court this week to 308 months in prison for the Oct. 23, 2016 beatdown and shooting of his 16-year-old victim.

In the early hours of the day of the incident, Paniagua and other gang members confronted their victim in Queens. They proceeded to punch and kick the 16-year-old before Paniagua took out a handgun and shot him in the face. Paniagua attempted to shoot him a second time as he lay bleeding on the sidewalk, but the gun jammed.

U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue said that the attack and shooting left Paniagua’s victim as a paraplegic.

“With today’s sentence, Paniagua has been held responsible for wanton violence he committed on behalf of the MS-13 gang that left a teenager paralyzed,” Donoghue stated.  “The Department of Justice and its law enforcement partners will continue working tirelessly to eradicate the MS-13 and all gangs that threaten the safety of our communities.”

According to Donoghue, MS-13’s leadership is based in El Salvador and Honduras, and the gang has thousands of members across the United States, comprised primarily of immigrants from Central America.  Since 2003, hundreds of MS-13 members, including dozens of clique leaders, have been convicted on federal felony charges in the Eastern District of New York. 

“These gangs require violence of new recruits, and Mr. Paniagua did all he could to live up to their dangerous and warped initiation process.  Our communities get caught in the middle of these deadly attacks and fear the harm that could come from stray bullets intended for a rival gang,” FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William Sweeney said..  “The FBI New York Metro Safe Streets Task Force won't rest until we stop these criminal organizations from filling their ranks with members willing to kill for acceptance.” 

NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill added, “gang violence will not be tolerated, and the message of this sentencing is clear – the NYPD and our law enforcement partners will hold responsible any violent gang members such as MS-13 for their criminal acts.  I thank our colleagues at the Eastern District and the FBI for their unceasing professionalism and dedicated work in removing from our streets anyone who would commit crime and disorder.” 

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