News and notes from Reston (tm).

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

This Week in Crime: Our friends and neighbors, MS-13 and the 18th Street Gang

Hey, remember that double shooting in South Reston back in October that kicked off our MASSIVE CRIME WAVE and, following a lengthy investigation, police determined just might have been gang related? Turns out it was gang-related -- and with a vengeance.

A Washington-area gang leader has been charged for his alleged role in the October shooting of two men in Reston, federal court documents said.

Dennis L. Gil Bernardez, aka “Dopre” and “Pando,” was charged Friday with committing a violent crime in aid of racketeering after being identified by one of the Reston victims from a photo array, according to documents filed in Alexandria’s U.S. District Court.

Bernardez runs the MS-13 group Normandie Locos Salvatrucha, which controls the notoriously violent gang’s turf in the District and Prince George’s County, an FBI agent wrote in a sworn statement.

But Bernardez was recently sent to Fairfax County by MS-13 leaders in El Salvador because the group there, the Western Locos Salvatrucha, was not “representing,” or handling gang business properly, the agent wrote.
What, were they not tagging buildings with the proper earth-tone colored spray paint? Actually, as is the case with South Lakes and Oakton parents, the shooting actually stemmed from a longstanding rivalry.
The events leading up to the Oct. 6 shooting started Aug. 30 with an MS-13 gang member clashing with his relative, a former 18th Street gang member from Los Angeles. The two men lived in the same Reston apartment complex. The relative and two friends beat the ex-18th Street member with a baseball bat and glass bottles, the agent wrote.

The 18th Street gang started in Los Angeles in the 1960s and the two gangs became rivals as MS-13 moved in.

On Sept. 2, the former 18th Street member and his friends retaliated, punching the MS-13 gang member and others through the windows of a white Ford Explorer.

Then came Oct. 6, when Bernardez approached the 18th Street member and two other men in a Reston park, the agent wrote. Bernardez had two men with him and asked them, “Which ones?” Bernardez’s companions pointed to the 18th Street member and another man. Bernardez then allegedly pulled out a revolver and opened fire, hitting the 18th Street member in the back and missing the second man, with a bullet passing through his sweatshirt.

The third man said, “I am not in their gang. I have no problem with you,” he later told the agent.

Bernardez started walking away, but then turned.

“I can’t leave any evidence,” he reportedly said as he opened fire, hitting the third man twice in the back.

Both shooting victims survived.
We should be thankful their aim is no better than their Scarface-era dialogue.

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