Hyattsville man arrested, second person sought in slaying of 14-year-old

December 6, 2012

Police have charged a Hyattsville man in connection with the fatal shooting of a 14-year-old boy in Lewisdale early Wednesday and are searching for another believed to be involved in the gang-related incident, law enforcement officials said Thursday.

Jose Luis Rodriguez-Nunez, 24, of the 5800 block of 30th Avenue is charged with second-degree murder and related offenses in the slaying of Eliezer Benjamin Reyes, who was shot just after midnight as he walked with others in the 2200 block of Sheridan Street, authorities said.

Law enforcement officials familiar with the case said Rodriguez-Nunez was taken into custody moments after the incident when a Hyattsville city police officer spotted him driving a van believed to be connected to the case.

Prince George’s County detectives are still investigating a precise motive in the slaying. Preliminarily, law enforcement officials said it might be as simple as the fact that Reyes was with members of the Lewisdale Crew when two members of the Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, gang passed by in a van and decided to open fire.

The gangs are rivals involved in an ongoing feud, the officials said.


Jose Luis Rodriguez-Nunez is charged with second-degree murder in the death of 14-year-old Eliezer Reyes. (Prince George’s Police Department)

The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they could be disciplined for speaking candidly about an ongoing investigation. Police did not publicly identify either gang.

The bullets fatally wounded Reyes — himself not a confirmed member of any gang — and hit a 19-year-old with him, law enforcement officials have said.

The 19-year-old was treated at a hospital and released, authorities said.

Reyes was a student at the Foundation School in Largo who enjoyed playing soccer and basketball, his father, Jose Reyes, said. Although the boy struggled in school, he was generally quiet and respectful of those older than he was, his father had said.

Sgt. Chris Purvis, a Hyattsville city police spokesman, said that minutes after the shooting, a city officer spotted the van believed to be involved in the incident near the intersection of Nicholson Street and 37th Avenue. He said the officer tried to stop the van and two people inside got out and tried to flee. The officer was able to stop the driver, Purvis said, although the other person got away.

Law enforcement officials said Rodriguez-Nunez was the driver and investigators are still working to find the second person.

They are still looking into each person’s role in the incident, the officials said.

Efforts to find relatives of Rodriguez-Nunez were not immediately successful.

Jennifer Jenkins contributed to this report.

Matt Zapotosky covers the federal district courthouse in Alexandria, where he tries to break news from a windowless office in which he is not allowed to bring his cell phone.
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