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2 Arrested in MS-13 Slaying of 14-Year-Old

By Theola Labbé-DeBose
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 17, 2008

D.C. police have arrested two teenagers in the stabbing death last Friday of a 14-year-old in Columbia Heights, a killing that was gang-related, according to charging papers filed yesterday.

Hector Diaz-Florez, 18, and Yester Ayala, 17, were charged with killing Giovanni Sanchez, 14. His body was found about 4:30 p.m. Friday in the roadway near 14th and Newton streets NW, a bustling area near the Columbia Heights Metro station. Ayala was charged as an adult, officials said.

In charging papers, authorities described the attack as a group ambush. Giovanni and a companion spotted some members of Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, at 14th Street and Park Road NW and tried to run away in opposite directions, the documents said. But Giovanni tripped and fell, and was beaten, kicked and repeatedly stabbed.

Florez, of the 2100 block of 16th Street NW, was ordered held without bond after an appearance yesterday in D.C. Superior Court. At the crime scene, teddy bears remained tied to a tree yesterday and scrawled with messages such as "R.I.P. We will Miss You." Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) and Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier went to the site yesterday morning to announce the arrests.

"This is a unique case," Fenty said, because of the group nature of the attack and because it happened blocks away from the heart of the Northwest business corridor.

The stabbing was one in a series of violent incidents in the city in the past eight days.

In another Northwest incident, police closed streets around Shaw-Garnett-Patterson Middle School in the 1600 block of 11th Street NW for about five hours early yesterday because of a fatal shooting. Police said an officer heard gunshots shortly after 3 a.m. and found Durval V. Martins, 35, in the street.

Martins, of the 200 block of Bates Street NW, had been shot several times. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

That killing came after another attack in the Shaw area Monday afternoon.

David C. Holmes, 20, of Southeast Washington was slain about 4:30 p.m. at Fourth and V streets NW, near the Howard University campus.

The District has recorded 183 killings in 2008, seven more than in all of 2007, officials said.

Staff writers Clarence Williams and Debbi Wilgoren contributed to this report.

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