MS-13 Blamed in 3 Pr. George's Slayings

By Eric Rich and Ernesto Londoño
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, July 2, 2006; 5:26 PM

Prince George's County police today identified the three young men fatally shot yesterday by assailants thought to belong to a Latino street gang.

The men are Ruben Dominguez, 19, of Silver Spring; Jesse Salvador, 20, of Hyattsville; and Juan Freddy Rosales-Mendes, 29, of Chantilly, police said. A fourth man was injured in the attack.

There have been no arrests in the shooting, which shattered the relative calm that followed gang-fueled bloodshed in the region last summer.

Witnesses said the gunmen yelled out the name of the gang Mara Salvatrucha, also known as MS-13, as they opened fire in the Adelphi area about midnight Friday, according to two police sources. Two other sources, also speaking on condition of anonymity because the investigation is in its early stages, confirmed that police believe that MS-13 was behind the attack.

There were five or six assailants, police said.

Several police sources said there was no immediate indication that the victims were affiliated with gangs. Two of the men died at the scene, and two were taken to a hospital, where one died.

Police did not release the names of the victims. Two of the dead were from Montgomery County and one was from Virginia, police said. The survivor, who had injuries that were not life-threatening, is from Prince George's.

Yesterday afternoon, two janitors scrubbed blood from the tiles of the small foyer of 1901 Erie St., a three-story red-brick building. A young man stood on the steps outside and cried softly.

"No se puede decir nada," the man said when asked about the shooting, meaning it would be unwise to say anything.

According to two police sources, investigators are developing two theories of the shooting's motive: that it erupted from a dispute over a woman or that it was connected to a possible scheme by MS-13 to extort money from residents of the complex.

The slayings marked a return of the bloodshed that shook the Langley Park area last summer but that had recently abated. Two men died in a parking lot there early in August when their throats were slit. Before the month was over, a teenage girl had suffered a knife wound to the neck during a back-to-school concert, and a man had died after being beaten and cut by bottle fragments.

Although MS-13 members have continually been blamed for routine crime in the area, the attack marked a return of the sensational violence associated with the gang, an organization established by Salvadoran immigrants in Los Angeles in the 1980s. The group's reach has since extended to this region, initially to Northern Virginia and more recently to Prince George's and Montgomery.

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