05/18/2024

Some Crim

Track the Untold Stories

(Crime scene screenshot from WTTG/YouTube; Mug shot from Prince William County Police Department)

‘Killing whoever was unfortunate to cross their path’: MS-13 gang member gets life for senseless violence that left 4 random bystanders dead

(Crime scene screenshot from WTTG/YouTube; Mug shot from Prince William County Police Department)

An MS-13 gang member accused of senseless violence that left four random civilians dead during a three-month spree of violence in Washington, D.C., in 2019 was sentenced to life in prison.

Melvin Canales Saldana learned his fate this week in the bloodshed that happened when an MS-13 gang clique couldn’t find any rivals to shoot in northern Virginia, so they went after civilians, authorities said.

Related Coverage:

    “At first blush the murders committed in the wake of the defendant’s order seem to be the stuff of urban legend,” prosecutors John Blanchard and Matthew Hoff wrote in court papers, The Associated Press reported. “Gang members forming hunting parties and killing whoever was unfortunate to cross their path was an alien concept.”

    The defendant’s attorney said she would appeal her client’s conviction, saying his underlings claimed that the victims killed were gang rivals when they weren’t, all so they could rise through the gang’s ranks, the AP reported.

    “Mr. Canales repeatedly warned clique members to ‘do things right,’” Manitta said in court papers, the AP reported.

    Saldana was named in a federal indictment along with 11 other members and associates of an MS-13 clique in northern Virginia, alleging racketeering, drug trafficking, and murders, prosecutors said in a news release.

    The indictment charged eight of the defendants with crimes related to four murders in Prince William County over three months between June and September 2019.

    In the first case, a citizen found two bodies in a wooded area near a market and an elementary school. The victims were identified as Milton Lopez, 40, and Jairo Mayorga, 39. Two other victims were Eric Tate II, 25, and Antonio Smith, 37.

    Smith’s mother, Joan Lewis, told Washington’s CBS affiliate WUSA that her son was walking home from a store.

    “How do you take another human’s life to be a gang?” she said after arrests were made in the case. “I’m happy with the murderers being caught, but …. I’ll never get to hold my son. I’ll never get to see his face. I’ll never get to see him smile.”

    Sign up for the Law&Crime Daily Newsletter for more breaking news and updates

    The arrests of 12 people in October 2020 decimated the clique, but the bloodshed put the community on edge, Prince William County Police Acting Chief Jarad Phelps said in a news conference.

    “They were killed in cold blood for no apparent reason. They were randomly targeted individuals,” Phelps said then.

    The post ‘Killing whoever was unfortunate to cross their path’: MS-13 gang member gets life for senseless violence that left 4 random bystanders dead first appeared on Law & Crime.