Two gang-related murders in Corona last week have again raised concerns about an increase in gang violence in the community.
The victims, expectant fathers Juan “Mono” Gonzalez, 20, and Edgar Fernandez, 19, were shot several times by a hooded gunman as they walked in front of 109-51 54th Avenue according to authorities. Fernandez died on the scene and Gonzalez expired later at New York Hospital Queens. Both were believed to be members of the Dominican Trinitarios gang.
Up until this cold-blooded execution Thursday, April 9, the 110 Precinct had not reported any murders in their jurisdiction this year. One night after the shooting, the 110th had more officers and patrol cars out in the streets of Corona, including a mobile command center.
“When you get news like this you get the feeling in your stomach like ‘uh oh’ here we go again,” Assemblymember Jose Peralta said. “It is a problem. It’s a consistent problem, and we cannot fall asleep on it.”
The problem Peralta refers to is gang-related violence, which has been a thorn for the local leaders and law enforcement. Several gangs operate in Corona including the Latin Kings, ABK (Always Banging Kings), MS-13 (Mara Salvatrucha), DDP (Dominicans Don’t Play) and the Trinitarios. The deaths of Gonzalez and Fernandez are said to be at the hands of rival gang the Latin Kings.
According to Guardian Angel, Arnaldo “13” Salinas, part of the reason gang violence has gone up in Corona is because criminals victimize undocumented immigrants who they know won’t go to the police.
“When they get here they have to stick together and protect themselves to fend off attackers,” Salinas said. “Once they get in, they get side-tracked and start doing stuff [like sell drugs] for money.”
District 21 Councilmember Julissa Ferreras, who grew up in Corona, plans to host a public safety town hall meeting in the next few weeks and hopes to start a gun buyback program in the community similar to the one held in southeast Queens earlier this year.
“I was greatly saddened, and my condolences go out to the family, but the reality is that I think this is about a bigger picture, about a concern that has been growing in particular in Corona with gang violence,” said Ferreras.
– Additional Reporting by Pete Davis
Click here to read story about the community’s response to the gang shooting.