Five teenage boys accused of stabbing and striking a Uniondale High School student with a baseball bat last week were arrested and charged with first-degree assault and first-degree gang assault, Nassau police said Monday.
The five defendants — one is 17, another 16, while the rest are 15 years old — have “affiliations” with the MS-13 street gang and allegedly assaulted the victim because of comments he made on social media, authorities said at a news briefing at police headquarters in Mineola.
“An argument ensued over various social media postings that this young man made and it escalated into a physical confrontation,” said Nassau police First Deputy Commissioner Kevin Smith.
Smith declined to specify the substance of the posts but added: “This was basically a beatdown because he did something that offended them,” Smith said.
The five teens face first-degree assault and first-degree gang assault charges, police said, as a result of the Jan. 8 attack. The suspects, who were arrested last week, have been arraigned in First District Court in Hempstead. All five were released with no bail, Smith said.
The defendants confronted the 15-year-old victim at the corner of Walnut Street and Leslie Lane, according to police. The victim was struck “multiple times” in the head with bats and stabbed once in the abdomen, Smith said. His injuries were not considered life-threatening at the time, authorities said, and he has been released from the hospital.
Police found the knife believed to be involved in the stabbing, as well as two baseball bats, a short distance from the scene of the assault, Smith said.
Police did not release the names of the five, citing their status as “adolescent offenders” under a recent change in the law regarding youth charged with crimes. Three of the alleged attackers were Uniondale High School students, one of whom had been suspended prior to the assault of the 15-year-old, police said. The other two were students at Hempstead High School.
Uniondale's schools superintendent said the "physical altercation" took place after dismissal and off school property, but school security intervened before calling police.
Smith said school officials told police the defendants will no longer be allowed on the school grounds.
The deputy commissioner also declined to say whether the defendants were alleged to be members or associates of the gang — only that they had “affiliations” to the violent street gang.
“We’re very happy and pleased that our detectives were able to identify these individuals responsible for these violent acts so that they can be held accountable for their actions,” said Smith. “Regardless of age, we will arrest any individual who commits a crime in Nassau County, especially a violent crime.”