A Bellport teenager was arrested Monday and charged with the July fatal shooting of a 17-year-old East Patchogue boy whose father found his son's lifeless body outside their East Patchogue home, Suffolk police said.
Melquisedec Antonio Sanchez-Hernandez, 17, is expected to be arraigned Tuesday on a charge of second-degree murder in the death of Emilio Sanchez Maldonado, homicide detectives said. Police were called to the victim's Hampton Avenue home just after 3:30 a.m. July 3 and Maldonado was declared dead at the scene.
Sanchez-Hernandez, of Station Road, was walking in North Bellport, at the intersection of Patchogue Avenue and Station Road, when he was nabbed about 6:40 a.m., police said.
Homicide detectives said the teenagers knew each other and the motive for the shooting is still being explored. Other details were not released due to the ongoing investigation, including whether others were involved, the number of shots fired and the evidence tying Sanchez-Hernandez to the killing.
Last year, the victim's father, Jose Antonio Sanchez, 45, told Newsday he had been calling his son for several hours and got no response, so he left work just after 3 a.m. to look for the teenager.
When he got to the house where the family had rented an apartment, Sanchez said, he found his son lying on the ground just outside a wooden gate, next to the teenager's bicycle.
“He went to pick [Maldonado] up and his hands and chest were covered in blood,” said Sanchez's nephew, Adonay Cruz, 17, at the time, who acted as the father's Spanish-language interpreter.
The family's landlady said she heard several popping noises about 11:30 p.m. but did not go out to investigate.
Maldonado, who would have been a senior at Bellport High School last fall, died just before he was supposed to start working at Give & Go in Shirley, a manufacturer of baked goods.
Sanchez could not be reached Monday night.
He moved out of the apartment to live with family in Holbrook, said his former landlord, Jose Benavides, and now he comes by occasionally to collect his mail.
"He's sad all the time and he doesn't talk to anybody and he's always quiet," Benavides said. "It's not easy."
Benavides recalled Maldonado as a nice teenager who texted a lot and spent much of his time shooting hoops and playing with the children's playset in the backyard.
"It was weird to come outside and not to see him playing," the landlord said. "Even my son asks 'Where's Emilio?' He's only 5 years old."
Benavides said his family no longer goes outside much to hang out and that the shooting has destroyed the sense of having a happy, safe home.
He said he and his wife plan to put the house up for sale this year and move out of state: "This is not a safe place to live anymore."