Two teenagers were arrested yesterday in the fatal shooting of a 22-year-old Guatemalan immigrant, Montgomery County police said.
Luis Manuel Miranda, 19, was charged with first-degree murder in the slaying Sunday of Edison Roberto Moran, who was shot in the head while in a car stopped at a red light at Veirs Mill Road and Twinbrook Parkway that morning. The shooting apparently stemmed from a bar fight.
A 17-year-old Wheaton youth was charged with helping Miranda after the killing. Police did not identify the 17-year-old because he was charged as a minor.
Police spokeswoman Lucille Baur said detectives have linked the two teenagers to a Salvadoran gang, but she said investigators do not believe the slaying was gang related. "Because we don't know the nature of the arguments that preceded the incident, we don't know that it's gang related," Baur said. She added that detectives do not believe that Moran was a gang member.
A law enforcement source with knowledge of the case said Miranda is a member of Mara Salvatrucha, a Central American gang also known as MS-13. The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the case is still open, said Miranda has MS-13 tattooed on his chest.
Baur said the 17-year-old youth got into a fight with Moran at Tijuana Mexican Cafe in the 2000 block of Veirs Mill Road. The youth called Miranda, who came to the restaurant with other men. Moran and a friend with whom he had been dining left in a gold Mitsubishi Mirage. Miranda and the other men trailed them in a Jeep.
When the vehicles reached Veirs Mill Road and Twinbrook Parkway, they hit a red light, police said. After arguing, Miranda shot Moran, police said.
Rebeca Bonilla, Moran's roommate, said yesterday that Moran's friends and relatives are struggling to come up with $4,000 to have his body shipped to Guatemala, where his mother and three siblings live. "They are waiting for the body," Bonilla said. "They're not doing well."
Detectives arrested Miranda on Wednesday on an unrelated warrant in a shooting that happened in Wheaton hours before Moran was killed.
A police document said Miranda shot a man who was with him in a 1996 Jeep Cherokee with West Virginia license plates.
An unidentified witness told police that Miranda discharged the gun accidentally and that the men who were in the vehicle "agreed to lie to police about the event," the document said.
Victim Gustavo Perez-Martinez was dropped off at Suburban Hospital about 6 p.m. with a gunshot wound in the right calf, police said. He told officers at the hospital that he had been shot by a black male robber near a Wheaton gas station -- an allegation that officers were unable to corroborate.