By Bill Parry
Six reputed members of the violent Latin Kings street gang were charged last week with attempted murder and gang assault of a 24-year-old man in Jackson Heights in October because he wasn’t a member of their gang, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.
The six defendants — Michael “Menace” Arugundi, Jonathan “Butters” Duy, Jordan “JCap” Leon, Wilson “Suave” Matute, Luis “Frosty” Mayancela, and Luis “Scar” Minchala — were arraigned last Wednesday before Acting Queens Supreme Court Justice Stephanie Zaro on a seven-count indictment. Each of them were charged with one count of second-degree attempted murder, one count of first-degree gang assault, one count of first-degree assault, to counts of first-degree robbery, one count of second-degree robbery and one count of second-degree assault.
The defendants, who each face up to 25 years in prison if convicted, were ordered to return to court July 10.
The 24-year-old victim was standing outside of the El Paisa bar, located at 87-05 Northern Blvd. during the early morning hours of October 29 when a large group of men, including the six defendants, approached him, according to the charges. Seven of the men — including defendants Aragundi, Duy, Leon, Matute and Mayancela — allegedly began punching and stabbing the victim. It is alleged that, although the defendant Minchala did not participate in the assault, he later told police that he was present at the scene to oversee the assault and that he directed other gang members to assault the victim, according to Brown. Two others have not been apprehended in the assault, according to the DA’s office.
Additionally, it is alleged that a cane the victim was holding at the time of the assault was snatched from him and used in the assault. The assailants fled the scene, leaving the victim bleeding in front of the bar. He was taken to a nearby hospital where he was treated for 11 stab wounds and lacerations, including a laceration to the head and two stab wounds to the neck.
The victim additionally suffered possible nerve damage to his left arm, which has left him with numbness in his arm and hand, according to the charges.
“The defendants are accused of viciously attacking and seriously injuring a young man apparently for no other reason than he was not a member of the Latin Kings gang,” Brown said. “Gang violence will not be tolerated in Queens County. The defendants’ poor choice in pursuing gang membership and the violence that are a part of that lifestyle have led them to be charged with serious felonies that carry the possibility of lengthy prison sentences.”
Five of the six defendants are from Queens, but Minchala, who directed the attack, has an unknown address, according to the DA’s office.
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr