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Prosecutors: MS-13 gang members charged in Queens shooting

Three reputed MS-13 gang members and associates from Queens face federal racketeering and attempted murder charges stemming from an October 2016 shooting that left a victim paralyzed, officials said.

Jose Gonzalez and Kevin Paniagua, both 18, and Francisco Ramos, 23, were taken into custody early Wednesday, acting Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Bridget M. Rohde said in a statement.

Gonzalez and Paniagua are members of MS-13 and Ramos is considered by police to be an associate of the gang, according to a federal criminal complaint. The three face earlier related state charges in Queens stemming from the attack and were ordered detained by a federal magistrate judge in Brooklyn Wednesday.

They are accused of confronting an individual they considered to be a member of a rival gang of Central American immigrants in the vicinity of 179th Street and 90th Avenue in Queens and assaulting the victim, officials said. Ramos was charged with being the driver for the other two. A fourth person who police suspect was a conspirator, has not been charged.

After the victim was assaulted, Paniagua took out a gun and shot him in the head, according to the court complaint. Paniagua attempted to fire at the victim a second time but the gun malfunctioned, investigators said.

The victim is now a paraplegic as a result of the shooting, Rohde said in the statement.

Police arrested Paniagua Nov. 15, 2016. He told cops during an interview that “he shot the victim and tried to shoot the victim a second time, but that the firearm did not fire,” the complaint stated.

The entire episode was caught on video surveillance cameras.

According to the complaint, Gonzalez, Paniagua, as well as the co-conspirator, who was not identified, exited the car Ramos drove and loitered on the street until they assaulted the victim.

The video showed “an individual who appears to be” Paniagua pulling out a gun and firing at the defendant’s head, the complaint alleged.

On Oct. 27, 2016, NYPD officers arrested Gonzalez in connection with the attack, police said. In an interview, Gonzalez admitted knowing the victim and believing him to be a member of the 18th Street gang, with whom he had a prior confrontation, but denied taking part in the assault, police said.

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