JAMAICA, Queens — Police charged two MS-13 gang members with attempted murder for allegedly stabbing a 17-year-old boy in Queens last month, the Queens District Attorney’s Office said.
The teen victim was riding his bike on Sutphin Boulevard and 94th Avenue in Jamaica when he was hit with an unknown object, causing him to fall on impact, officials said. The attackers, identified as Dani Cruz, 25, and Maxwell Martinez, 24, allegedly then proceeded to repeatedly punch, kick and stab the victim in his back, torso and arm.
The two men were spotted shortly after two blocks away at a nearby bodega and promptly arrested for an unrelated crime. As the attackers were arrested, authorities noted their “clothes and shoes were smeared and splattered with fresh blood.”
Cruz and Martinez’s clothes and shoes were submitted to a lab for testing, determining that the DNA on their belongings matched that of the victim.
Cruz admitted to authorities that he was a member of MS-13, but maintained his innocence to the stabbing, saying he “was in the deli the entire time” and does not remember what happened because he was drinking.
Martinez allegedly confirmed he was MS-13 and, like Cruz, also maintained his innocence, saying “the blood on my pants are from cuts I have. I had one construction accident. I did not stab anyone.”
They both face up to 25 years in prison if convicted, the district attorney’s office said.
The teen suffered nerve damage and was transported to the hospital where he received surgery for multiple stab wounds.
“This kind of brutality is unacceptable in a civilized society and shows a disregard for human life,” District Attorney Richard Brown said. “The two defendants face a long term of incarceration for this heinous crime.”
Cruz and Martinez are scheduled to appear in front of a judge on Oct. 23.
Long Island has seen extensive MS-13 violence in recent years — the gang has been blamed for at least 25 killings since January 2016.
In August, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced $8.35 million in funding to deter young people from joining gangs.
The investment includes $3.7 million for youth job training, $2.4 million in after-school activities and $2.25 million for the Family and Children’s Association.
“The violence and terror that MS-13 has inflicted on our communities will not be tolerated, and by protecting and educating New York’s children, we are taking action to drive out these monstrous criminals,” Cuomo said.
“The launch of this comprehensive plan builds on our investments to stomp out gang recruitment while engaging young men and women in our efforts to eliminate MS-13 from New York once and for all.”
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated police were looking for Dani Cruz and Maxwell Martinez. An updated version corrected Cruz and Martinez were charged.