A bar fight in Silver Spring led to the slaying of a 22-year-old Guatemalan immigrant who was shot in the head, Montgomery County police and a witness said yesterday.
Edison Roberto Moran, 22, was in the driver's seat of a gold-colored Mitsubishi Mirage at a traffic light on Veirs Mill Road east of Twinbrook Parkway early Sunday morning when a group of men he had been arguing with minutes before at Tijuana Mexican Cafe brought their white Jeep Cherokee to a halt next to him, police said.
Moran rolled down his window and enticed the Cherokee driver to fight him, said Moran's 20-year-old friend, who was in the passenger seat of the Mirage.
"Si andas mara, tirate," the driver of the Cherokee replied, said the witness, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation. "If you're with a gang, bring it on."
The driver of the Cherokee pulled out a gun, fired once and sped away, the witness recounted, recalling how Moran's head then tilted and blood dripped down his face.
Montgomery police spokeswoman Lucille Baur said investigators would like to talk with the men who were in the Cherokee.
"We need them to come forward," Baur said, noting that some of those in the vehicle might not have known that the driver intended to fire the weapon.
"If they happen to be Hispanic and their documentation is in question, that doesn't matter to us."
Baur said she couldn't comment on whether the incident might have been gang-related. Two of Moran's friends said Moran was no stranger to fights, but he was not a gang member.
Moran and his friend went to the bar Saturday night, as they had done countless times before, because the victim had a crush on a waitress there, said Rebeca Bonilla, 27, one of Moran's roommates.
After midnight, Moran stepped outside the bar, which serves food, where a bouncer was trying to expel a patron. Moran and the bouncer were acquaintances, and Moran ended up arguing with the man who was being asked to leave, Bonilla and the other friend said.
Minutes later, Moran and his friend got into the Mirage and started driving home, the friend said. The Jeep Cherokee trailed them for a couple of blocks, where they reached the red light.
Bonilla said Moran immigrated three years ago, following his father, who has lived in Silver Spring for more than six years. He worked in construction.