No. 1 Story of the Year: Gunshots shake the North Fork

01/01/2015 8:00 AM |
Southold shooting suspects (from left) Walter Vasquez, 17, of Greenport;  Pedro Emilio Santamaria, 31, of Greenport; and Jeremias Nathaniel Recinos Torres, 19, of Aquebogue are escorted by corrections officers into Southold Town Court earlier this year. (Credit: Paul Squire, file)

Southold shooting suspects (from left) Walter Vasquez, 17, of Greenport; Pedro Emilio Santamaria, 31, of Greenport; and Jeremias Nathaniel Recinos Torres, 19, of Aquebogue are escorted by corrections officers into Southold Town Court earlier this year. (Credit: Paul Squire, file)

Residents of South Harbor Road in Southold awoke to gunfire and a steep police presence Oct. 14 after three men were shot during what police called a gang-related midnight ambush, Southold police said.

The violence stemmed from a dispute that occurred at Third Street Park in Greenport on Oct. 10, police said.

Police said the two victims, whose identities have not been released, are allegedly members of Mara-18, or 18th Street, a street gang.

While the victims were walking along Main Road, members of the rival MS-13 gang spotted and attacked them. As many as five shots were fired from a .22-caliber handgun, and one victim was attacked with a machete, police said.

Three MS-13 members were arrested within 24 hours of the incident, Pedro Emilio Santamaria, 31; Jeremias Nathanael Recinos Torres, 19, of Aquebogue; and Walter Vasquez, 17, of Greenport.
Freddie Fernando Torres Campos, 16 — who had been shot in the foot by one of his fellow MS-13 gang members — was taken into custody after seeking treatment at Southampton Hospital.

A final suspect, Albino Dejesus Medina, 20, of Bay Shore was arrested Nov. 13 with the assistance of U.S. Marshals, the NY/NJ Regional Fugitive Task Force and the Riverhead town police. He was also arrested for another allegedly gang-affiliated shooting Oct. 10 in Riverhead’s jurisdiction.

The five men have all been indicted and arraigned on violent felony charges of assault and gang assault.

The incident spurred town police, school and Greenport Village officials to host a recent gang forum for the public. Eight newly hired police officers, outreach, increased communication and the creation of school programs to target at-risk youth have all been outlined as ways of combating gang activity.

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