North Valley Stream man faces murder charge in Hempstead shooting

Pedro Merchant, of 811 Ascan St. North, was Pedro Merchant, of 811 Ascan St. North, was arrested without incident at 1:30 p.m., police said. He was charged with one count of second-degree murder. (Sept. 19, 2013) Photo Credit: NCPD

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Nassau police Thursday arrested a 20-year-old North Valley Stream man in the fatal shooting of a Hempstead teenager last week.

Pedro Merchant, of 811 Ascan St. North, was arrested without incident at 1:30 p.m., police said Thursday night. He was charged with one count of second-degree murder.

A police spokesman would not comment on a possible motive for the killing of Dante James Quinones-Wright, 17, who was shot numerous times shortly before 10 p.m. on Sept. 11 in front of 198 Dartmouth St. in Hempstead. Quinones-Wright died a little more than an hour later at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola.

Merchant was scheduled to be arraigned Friday at First District Court in Hempstead.

Quinones-Wright's mother, Chrissie Quinones, said at the time of the shooting that her son had told her he feared someone was trying to kill him.

"He used to tell me that someone was trying to hurt him, someone was trying to kill him," she said shortly after he was killed.

Quinones said she struggled to keep her son, who last attended Malverne High School in 2012, out of trouble, but he hung out with a bad crowd. She said she suspected the shooting was related to a dispute he had with a former friend.

Quinones-Wright's fear for his life had heightened in recent weeks after he had a falling out with a friend, she said.

Members of Quinones-Wright's family could not be reached Thursday night. Attempts to reach the Merchant family for comment also were unsuccessful.

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