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MS-13 members arrested in Southold 'ambush' shooting of rival gang Mara-18, police say

Jeremias Nathaniel Recinos Torres, left, 19, of Aquebogue,

Jeremias Nathaniel Recinos Torres, left, 19, of Aquebogue, and Pedro Emilio Santamaria, 31, of Greenport, are two of three men arrested after a shooting Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014, in Southold. Photo Credit: Southhold Police Department

Three men arrested after a shooting in Southold have been identified as MS-13 street gang members involved in a dispute with a rival known as Mara-18 -- or 18th Street -- police said Wednesday.

Southold Town police said one of the suspects, a 17-year-old, was arrested at Greenport High School, where he is a student.

The two victims of Tuesday's early morning shooting remain hospitalized at Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead. Police said the two men were "ambushed" as they walked along South Harbor Road near Route 25 in Southold shortly after 12:20 a.m. Tuesday.

Arrested were Pedro Emilio Santamaria, 31, of Greenport; Jeremias Nathaniel Recinos Torres, 19, of Aquebogue; and Walter Vasquez, 17, of Greenport. All were charged with first-degree assault, police said. Police said Santamaria and Torres also were charged with second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

Arraignment details were not available Wednesday. Police said more arrests were expected.

An investigation determined that Vasquez, who was arrested at Greenport High, and Recinos Torres are both in the United States without legal documents, and that both are involved in deportation proceedings, police said.

The shootings appear to be rooted in a dispute between some of the suspects and the victims that occurred Friday night in Third Street Park in Greenport, police said.

Police did not describe the nature of that dispute.

Early Tuesday, police said, the three suspected shooters, all members of the notorious street gang MS-13, spotted the two victims, both believed to be members of Mara-18, walking near South Harbor Road and Route 25. Both victims live in the area, police said.

Police said as many as five shots were fired, and one victim also was attacked with a machete.

Officers spotted Santamaria and Recinos Torres in a parked vehicle a short distance from the scene and, during the subsequent investigation, recovered a loaded .22-caliber semiautomatic handgun from the vehicle, police said.

Investigators learned later of Vasquez's suspected involvement in the shooting and arrested him at school.


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