By Mark Hallum
FLUSHING — Police said a man murdered in Flushing on Feb. 2 was shot to death in what the 107th Precinct called a gang-related crime.
The victim who hailed from New Jersey was very likely killed as the result of MS-13 activity, NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce told reporters in a Tuesday briefing with Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“Do we think it might still be MS-13? Yes, we do,” Boyce said. “Now, we’re hampered by the fact that we didn’t know who he was for the first two days … we went to his dad’s house. We spoke to his dad. He explained what happened and we were able to get to some telephones, where he’s going through social media. That’s being analyzed right now … So, we’re a long way from determining which gang it was at this point but again the earmarks of it, there’s no question.”
Officers first responded to a report that 20-year-old Oscar Antonio Blanco-Hernandez was assaulted at 85-14 160th St. around 6:40 p.m., and upon arrival discovered he was shot twice — once in the head and once in the groin, cops said.
EMS responders transported the victim to Queens General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to authorities.
Surveillance footage shows Blanco-Hernandez walking with two other men wearing black on 160th St. from Parsons Boulevard, and shortly after the trio moved beyond the security cameras’ field of view, the two men who accompanied him quickly walking back toward Parsons Boulevard, the tape shows.
Blanco-Hernandez lived with his father in New Jersey, according to Boyce. The NYPD is working with the FBI and Nassau and Suffolk counties’ law enforcement in the investigation.
Prosecutors and police allege the notorious El Salvadorian gang MS-13 has extended its presence from Long Island into areas of Bayside and Flushing, as well as parts of Jamaica and St. Albans, over the past year.
In May 2017, Fernando Gonzalez Chavez, 39, originally from El Salvador, was standing outside a Murray Hill deli on 162nd St. and Northern Boulevard when Roberto Abrego, 23, and Jose Alvarenga, 27, allegedly ambushed him in an attack later attributed to MS-13. Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said Chavez’s assailants shot him in the chest, puncturing his lung, which resulted in his death.
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 an Oakland Gardens wetlands preserve — an attack cops also determined to have gang ties.
Law enforcement would not confirm a specific gang’s affiliation, however, but 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, according to police.
A birdwatcher originally spotted Vasquez’s “severely decomposed” body in a remote and heavily wooded part of Alley Pond Park, popular for its ungroomed wetlands, cops said.
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall