MS-13 members charged in Brentwood killing

New York State Police announced the arrests of two MS-13 street gang members as a result of a 16 month investigation into the death of Leodan Bonilla. Videojournalist: Jim Staubitser (April 12, 2012)

Two more gang members have been arrested in the 2010 murder of a Brentwood teen in what New York State Police described Thursday as an "internal dispute" within the MS-13 gang.

The arrests of Juan "Titanic" Gomez, 18, of Brentwood, and Wilmer "Chewey" Zuniga, 18, of Central Islip, bring to three the number of people charged in the Dec. 10, 2010 shooting death of Leodan Bonilla, 18.

Bonilla, who used the nicknames "Tweety" and "Leo," was found with several gunshot wounds in a wooded area near the Southern State Parkway in North Bay Shore, police said. Thursday, a vase with bright plastic flowers and religious candles sat at the location, behind a wire fence.

Onan Chica, 18, of Brentwood, was also arrested in connection with the slaying last July. Chica is being held in Suffolk County Jail, awaiting trial. All three suspects have been charged with second-degree murder.

At a news conference Thursday, State Police troop commander Maj. Patrick Regan said the investigation is ongoing but the State Police Major Crimes Unit believes it has arrested the three "directly responsible" for Bonilla's death.

Regan said police had developed physical evidence since Chica's arrest to allow them to make the most recent arrests. He said Gomez and Zuniga were arrested without incident Thursday as they walked on a Brentwood street.

As he sat in a state patrol car at the agency's Farmingdale offices on his way to arraignment, Gomez said, "I didn't shoot nobody."

Zuniga, as he walked stoically to another patrol car, said, "No," when asked if he was involved in Bonilla's shooting.

At the time of Chica's arrest last July 20, State Police said he had ties to MS-13, also known as Mara Salvatrucha. Police said Chica admitted to firing "several shots" with another person at Bonilla, striking him in the head.

At the arraignment of Gomez and Zuniga in District Court in Central Islip, Assistant Suffolk County District Attorney Megan O'Donnell said the three lured Bonilla to the wooded area because "there were rumors that he was cooperating with law enforcement" against his fellow gang members.

The men took turns firing one shot into Bonilla's head, "passing the gun around," O'Donnell said. She did not say whether Bonilla was cooperating with law enforcement.

Gomez and Zuniga each pleaded not guilty to the second-degree murder charge. Judge John Kay ordered them detained without bail.

With Gary Dymski

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