LOWER EAST SIDE, Manhattan (PIX11) — The two men wanted in connection with the fatal shootings and burning of friends Jesse Parrilla and Nikki Huang were captured on surveillance kidnapping the victims.

That’s according to a law enforcement source PIX11 News spoke to, a day after the photos of suspects Steven Santiago, 34, and Jahmel Sanders, 30, were released to the media.

The source added the two suspects were later photographed near the Bronx golf course where the victims were fatally shot and left to die in a burning car, shortly before 4:30 a.m. on May 16.

“They definitely take part in setting the car on fire,” the source told PIX11 News.

Steven Santiago and Jahmel Sanders (NYPD)

PIX11 News also learned that Jesse Parrilla was in his silver Honda outside Nikki Huang’s house on Grand Street in the early hours of May 16, when “they pulled him out of the car and smacked him around,” according to the source.

The source said Parrilla, 22, was thrown into another car and driven away, while another person took off in Parrilla’s Honda.

Surveillance reportedly showed Parrilla being roughed up by the suspects at a location near Baruch Houses.

The Honda then returned to Nikki Huang’s house “and she got into the Honda, thinking Jesse was driving. The car had tinted windows.”

Nikki Huang, also 22, had apparently forgotten her keys and couldn’t get into her apartment.

Parrilla and Huang were then driven into Queens, where a reputed gang member was shot in the face at 2:20 a.m. as he took out the garbage near his home.

Investigators said Nikki Huang had been robbed on Sunday, May 15, and complained to some friends about it. The friends were reportedly affiliated with “Up the Hill” gang, based on the Lower East Side.

bronx burning car victims
Nikki Huang, left and Jesse Parrilla, right, were found shot to death inside a burning car in the Bronx on May 16, 2022, police said. (Credit: Family handouts)

“Up the Hill” often feuds with members of the “Down the Hill’ crew, which is based in the East Village.

Within hours of Nikki Huang getting robbed, a man who reportedly belonged to “Down the Hill’ gang was fatally shot in the head on Avenue D, near East 3rd Street in the East Village.

The two suspects in the Parrilla/Huang murders were associates of this gunshot victim, according to PIX11’s source.

Soon after, two members of “Up the Hill” were shot and wounded on Pike Street.

The source said Jesse Parrilla gave Nikki Huang a ride to her apartment building at about 1 a.m. on Monday morning, May 16. The two friends knew each other from middle school.

Jesse Parrilla had been taking classes at Genesee Community College upstate and also played basketball for the school.

Nikki Huang worked at her parent’s restaurant on Grand Street and also owned a nearby salon called Nails by Nikki, gifted to her by her father after she graduated high school.

PIX11’s source said the two suspects are from Baruch Houses on the Lower East Side, and they have been identified from extensive surveillance footage that traces the entire night of events on Sunday, May 15 into the morning hours of Monday, May 16.

“We know who’s wearing what,” the law enforcement source said. “Both of the guys were identified.”