(RIVERHEAD, N.Y.) – Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy D. Sini today announced the indictment of an MS-13 gang member for the shooting death of Emilio Sanchez-Maldonado, 17, in East Patchogue on July 2, 2018.
Melquisedec Sanchez-Hernandez, 17, is charged with Murder in the Second Degree, an A felony. He has been identified by law enforcement as a member of the MS-13 street gang.
“When it comes to MS-13, you’re either with them or against them, and that was certainly the case here,” District Attorney Sini said. “The defendant gunned down the victim simply because he felt slighted and took issue with the victims’ new friends. This was yet another senseless tragedy at the hands of this gang.”
At 3:32 a.m. on July 3, 2018, Suffolk County Police officers from the Fifth Precinct responded to 246 Hampton Ave. in East Patchogue after Sanchez-Maldonado’s body was discovered by his father outside of their home. The victim had sustained several gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene by a physician assistant from the Office of the Suffolk County Medical Examiner.
An investigation by the Suffolk County Police Homicide Squad determined that Sanchez-Hernandez allegedly murdered Sanchez-Maldonado on July 2, 2018. Sanchez-Hernandez was arrested on May 20 and provided a videotaped confession to detectives.
Sanchez-Hernandez told police that he and Sanchez-Maldonado, who were both students at Bellport High School, had been friends, but that Sanchez-Maldonado started hanging out with a new group of friends who did not like Sanchez-Hernandez. The defendant stated he went to the victim’s house on the night of the murder to confront him about issues with his new friends.
Sanchez-Hernandez also told police that he contacted the victim on the night of the murder using a fake social media account, pretending to be female, to get the victim to come out of his house. When the victim came outside, Sanchez-Hernandez fatally shot him.
Sanchez-Hernandez was previously arrested in Virginia on Oct. 27, 2018, on charges relating to the attempted murder of a rival gang murder in the 18th Street gang. The defendant posted bond in Virginia and was out of custody when he was arrested in Suffolk County for Sanchez-Maldonado’s murder.
Sanchez-Hernandez was arraigned on the indictment today by Suffolk County Supreme Court Justice William J. Condon and was remanded without bail. He is due back in court on June 25.
If convicted, Sanchez-Hernandez faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Kathleen Kearon, of the Homicide Bureau.
A criminal charge is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.