A Queens gang member was sentenced for his role in paralyzing a 16-year-old rival gang member in a 2016 shooting in Jamaica.
Kevin Paniagua, 20, pleaded guilty to attempted murder and firearms charges in June 2018. He was sentenced to spend 308 months, or 25 years and 8 months, in prison.
Court records say that Paniagua is a member of the Centrales Locos Salvatruchas (CLS) clique of La Mara Salvatrucha, also known as MS-13.
“With today’s sentence, Paniagua has been held responsible for wanton violence he committed on behalf of of the MS-13 gang that left a teenager paralyzed,” said United States Attorney Richard P. Donoghue. “The Department of Justice and its law enforcement partners will continue working tirelessly to eradicate the MS-13 and all gangs that threaten the safety of our communities.”
According to court records, on Oct. 23, 2016, Paniagua and his co-conspirators confronted the then-16-year-old victim, who is believed to be a member of the rival 18th Street gang, in vicinity of 179th Street and 90th Avenue in Jamaica. After the group punched and kicked the victim, Paniagua pulled out a gun and shot the victim in his face.
Paniagua then tried to shoot the victim again, but the gun jammed. The victim was left paralyzed from the waist down as a result of the attack.
“These gangs require violence of new recruits, and Mr. Paniagua did all he could to live up to their dangerous and warped initiation process. Our communities get caught in the middle of these deadly attacks and fear the harm that could come from stray bullets intended for a rival gang,” said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney. “The FBI New York Metro Safe Streets Task Force won’t rest until we stop these criminal organizations from filling their ranks with members willing to kill for acceptance.”