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Suspected MS-13 gang member indicted in killing of 17-year-old

A Bellport teen who is a suspected MS-13 gang member is being held without bail Friday following his indictment in the shooting death last year of a classmate in East Patchogue, prosecutors said.

Melquisedec Sanchez-Hernandez, 17, was indicted on a second-degree murder charge less than two weeks after he was arrested in connection with the July 2 killing of Emilio Sanchez-Maldonado, 17, who was shot outside his home, prosecutors said.

“When it comes to MS-13, you’re either with them or against them, and that was certainly the case here,” Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini said in a news release. “The defendant gunned down the victim simply because he felt slighted and took issue with the victim's new friends. This was yet another senseless tragedy at the hands of this gang.”

Sanchez-Hernandez was arraigned on the indictment Thursday before Suffolk County Supreme Court Justice William J. Condon and was remanded without bail. Due back in court June 25, he faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison, if convicted.

Sanchez-Hernandez’s attorney, Glenn Obedin of Central Islip, could not be reached for comment.

Prosecutors and Suffolk police said Fifth Precinct officers were called to the Sanchez-Maldonados' Hampton Avenue home at 3:32 a.m. July 3 after his body was discovered by his father outside their home. He was pronounced dead at the scene by a physician assistant from the Office of the Suffolk County Medical Examiner, officials said.

Homicide Squad detectives determined that Sanchez-Hernandez killed Sanchez-Maldonado on July 2. They said Sanchez-Hernandez was arrested May 20 and provided a videotaped confession.

Court records show a grand jury returned an indictment May 24.

The news release said the teenagers were students at Bellport High School and friends until “Sanchez-Maldonado started hanging out with a new group of friends who did not like Sanchez-Hernandez. The defendant stated he went to the victim’s house on the night of the murder to confront him about issues with his new friends.”

Officials also said Sanchez-Hernandez told police he contacted the victim through a fake social media account and lured him outside the home by pretending to be a girl.

“When the victim came outside, Sanchez-Hernandez fatally shot him,” the release said.

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