P.G. police prep for gang violence after teen’s fatal shooting

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Two specialized Prince George’s County gang units and a host of other police resources will be detailed to the Lewisdale area to head off any possible retaliation from gang-related violence after a double shooting Wednesday that killed a 14-year-old boy.

Eliezer Benjamin Reyes, of Lewisdale, was gunned down in a drive-by shooting at about 12:11 a.m. Wednesday in the 2200 block of Sheridan Street. Another man was also shot but survived.

At the time of the shooting, Eliezer and the man were with two other people who are documented gang members, police spokesman Lt. Bill Alexander said. As the group walked down the dead-end street of single-family homes, a van drove past and someone fired shots at them, striking both Eliezer and the other man.

Though the driver of the van was taken into custody shortly after the shooting, police could not say the motive for Wednesday’s shooting.

“They don’t specifically know that the 14-year-old kid was the target,” Lt. Alexander said.

Police took the driver of the van into custody after a Hyattsville police officer noticed a vehicle matching the description of the van and attempted to stop it. The passenger got away, but an officer was able to stop the driver, Hyattsville police Sgt. Chris Purvis said. County police were interviewing the man Wednesday, but it was unclear what, if any, charges would be filed.

No weapon was recovered from the scene, Lt. Alexander said.

Police would not say what gang Eliezer’s companions were associated with, but one friend said Eliezer was open about his dislike for MS-13, or Mara Salvatrucha, a notorious and largely Salvadoran gang.

“The only thing you could do to mess up your relationship with him is to join MS-13 or another gang,” said the 14-year-old friend, who spoke on the condition of anonymity out of fear for his own safety. “If he heard rumors that a person was with MS, he personally would go up to them and ask them because he really did not like them.”

The friend said he and others now worry about retaliation spilling over in the Lewisdale neighborhood, where he also lives.

“He was never a gangbanger but MS-13 did not like him,” he said. “Eliezer would walk around saying things like ‘MS won’t do anything, they should just get out of my neighborhood.’ ”

Hoping to stem any further violence, the county’s gang units will be working in the Lewsidale area through at least the weekend, Lt. Alexander said.

“They are going to be in the area and trying to make contact with the people they know are currently in gangs and stopping people to get information,” he said.

Additional officers from the department’s special assignment teams and extra squads will be available for extra deployments as needed.

Prince George’s County Public Schools are also adding extra security at schools as a precaution, even though spokesman Briant Coleman said there had not been any gang issues involving Eliezer at the schools he attended.

Officials confirmed that Eliezer attended the Foundation Schools in Largo, which runs a specialized educational and therapeutic program for students with severe emotional and behavioral disabilities. During the prior two school years, his friend said Eliezer attended nearby Nicholas Orem Middle School.

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