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Grieving parents await justice in killing of only son

Joshua Guzman, 15, was shot and killed in

Joshua Guzman, 15, was shot and killed in Hempstead on Sept. 12, 2016. Credit: NCPD

A young man sits in jail, accused of killing 10th-grader Joshua Guzman of Hempstead, but the victim’s parents still wait for answers — and more arrests.

“I feel lonely, without help,” Maria Guzman, 50, said through tears. “I feel like I’m doing nothing about my son’s murder. I feel locked in my space with my pain.”

Yonathan Trejo, 17, of Uniondale, and two others drove with Guzman on Sept. 12 to the corner of Linden and Laurel avenues in Hempstead, where the 15-year-old student’s body was found about 1 a.m. in the gutter, authorities said.

“The victim suffered a single gunshot wound to the back of the head,” said Brendan Brosh, spokesman for the Nassau district attorney’s office.

Trejo was indicted on a charge of second-degree murder and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the slaying.

He allegedly belongs to the 18th Street gang, Brosh said. The violent group has its genesis in Los Angeles, just like rival gang MS-13, accused of killing several Long Island teenagers in the past year.

Trejo’s attorney, Steven Barnwell of Mineola, said his client, now 18, maintains his innocence and declined to comment further. Trejo’s parents could not be reached.

Investigators know the identity of one of the two other suspects but so far have not arrested him, according to a law enforcement source.

Angry with the pace of the investigation, the victim’s father, Raul Guzman, 44, recently went to Trejo’s home, just blocks away, to find answers. He discovered that the family had moved.

“I worked very hard to leave things to my son, and now I don’t have a son,” said Guzman, a truck driver. “It’s a pain in my heart that continues.”

Nassau police and the district attorney’s office declined to comment on the progress of the case, saying it is an ongoing investigation.

Trejo was arrested in Houston on Oct. 27 as an out-of-state fugitive, according to local news reports. Brought back to New York, he was first arraigned on a 10-count indictment charging him with attempted murder in connection with an unrelated shooting on Sept. 9 in Hempstead, court records show. He was indicted in December in Guzman’s death and arraigned in January, according to records.

Nassau police and the district attorney’s office did not publicize the indictment of Trejo.

Guzman’s parents said their son had known Trejo for about a month, and while they’re not sure how the two met, the father noted that the suspect’s house was on the route his son walked to Uniondale High School.

In the last days of his life, the 10th grader appeared distracted and scared, his parents said. He wasn’t into gangs or drugs, they said, but they worried that gangs might try to recruit him.

Maria Guzman, who owns a landscaping company, now demands to know why her son was killed.

“What is the reason? What mistake did my son do to be murdered?” she said. “That’s the question I ask myself, and I need answers.”

Police ask anyone with information to call Nassau County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-244-TIPS.


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