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DA: MS-13 gang member sentenced to life in prison in shooting death

A reputed MS-13 gang member from Hempstead was sentenced to up to life in prison for fatally shooting a former gang member once in the chest outside a Queens deli in 2017, authorities said Wednesday.

Jose “Smoker” Alvarenga, 29, of Princeton Street, was sentenced by Queens Supreme Court Justice Michael B. Aloise.

Around midnight on May 31, 2017, Alvarenga approached Fernando Gonzalez-Chavez, who was crouching against a wall at the corner of 162nd Street and Station Road, according to Queens Acting District Attorney John M. Ryan.

Video surveillance showed Alvarenga entering the deli on the corner and then exiting.

“Fourteen seconds later, the defendant stood in front of the 39-year-old victim — who had stopped being an active member of the MS-13 gang — fired his pistol and then threw Gonzalez-Chavez to the ground,” the district attorney’s office said in a statement.

“The bullet ripped through both lungs, the victim’s aorta and esophagus. He died within minutes at the scene,” Ryan said.

Alvarenga took off but was caught July 27, 2017, after police received a tip from a person with knowledge of the shooting, Ryan said.

“The defendant, after searching for the victim, purposely shot him and left him to die on a street corner on the side of a Queens deli,” Ryan said. “The defendant showed no mercy to the victim and has shown no remorse for his actions. The sentence imposed today by the court will ensure that he will spend the rest of his life locked away behind bars.”

Alvarenga was found guilty earlier this month, following a jury trial, of second-degree murder and two counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

Aloise sentenced Alvarenga to 25 years to life in prison on the murder charge and  15 years in prison each on the criminal possession of a weapon charges, to be followed by 5 years’ post-release supervision.

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