By Mark Hallum
The suspected shooters of a Bayside man outside a Flushing deli in May have been charged with murder, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, who also said the two may have ties to the notorious MS-13 gang.
Fernando Gonzalez Chavez, 39, originally from El Salvador, was standing outside the business on 162nd Street in the early morning hours of May 31 when Roberto Abrego, 23, and Jose Alvarenga, 27, allegedly ambushed him, the DA said. Chavez was shot in the chest, puncturing a lung and resulting in his death, the DA said.
Brown said the two could be sentenced to up to 25 years in prison if they are convicted of second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon, but he also suggested a life sentence is not off the table.
“It is alleged that the defendants, acting in concert with one another, shot the victim once in the chest. This was a cold and senseless act of violence that ended the life of a 39-year-old father from El Salvador,” the DA said. “The defendants now face the possibility of spending the rest of their days locked behind bars.”
In the release from the DA’s office, Brown said the two were reportedly affiliated with MS-13.
Surveillance footage of the scene showed the two defendants allegedly acting in concert, the DA said, with one shown wearing a hooded sweatshirt.
Cops from the 109th Precinct Detective Squad and Queens North Homicide Squad conducted the investigation which led to the arraignment of the two defendants, both residents of Hempstead, in Queens Criminal Court.
According to Chavez’s Facebook profile, he appeared to work in construction and was a fan of the FC Barcelona soccer team. He attended Flushing High School and had recently celebrated his 39th birthday.
The alleged MS-13 killing of Chavez came just weeks after the mid-May murder of Julio Vasquez, 16, who was found with at least two dozen stab wounds in a Bayside wetlands preserve and was determined by police to have gang ties.
Although law enforcement would not confirm a specific gang affiliation, a brick post in front of Vasquez’s St. Albans home showed MS-13 markings in black spray paint. The teen also had a record of gang assault among other crimes.
Vasquez’s “severely decomposed” body was originally spotted by a birdwatcher in a remote and heavily wooded part of Alley Pond Park, popular for its ungroomed wetlands.
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall