On December 16th, just before noon, police responded to a 911 call about an unconscious man found in Bayswater Point State Park near Mott Avenue and Beacon Place, by Far Rockaway. The man, identified as 23-year-old Queens resident Ian Cruz, was only wearing socks and underwear and had been shot numerous times in the head with a .22 caliber gun.
This past weekend, police announced the arrests of five individuals for their alleged involvement in Cruz's death, charging Yonathan Sanchez, 22; Carlos Guerra, 18; a 15-year-old boy; and a 13-year-old girl with murder and criminal possession of a weapon. Elmer Guttierez, 18, was also charged with criminal possession of a weapon. The suspects all reportedly live at the same address in Far Rockaway. PIX 11 reports, "Officers recovered a firearm and more than 900 live rounds of ammunition" from the apartment.
Authorities suspect that the gang MS-13 may be involved in the killing. According to the Post, sources claim the 13-year-old girl was used to lure Cruz for a meeting: "Sources said the teenage girl messaged Cruz online and got him to come meet her for a tryst in the woods sometime between Dec. 15 and 16. Instead, a group of four gangbangers — the girl included — pumped four rounds of .22-caliber ammunition into his head."
Investigators believe the foursome used the same femme fatale to ensnare and kill 17-year-old Harold Sermeno — also of Far Rockaway — who was found fatally shot outside the Five Towns Community Center on Tuesday, sources said.
Police believe both men were mistaken for rival gang members, but it is unclear whether they knew the girl was 13, sources said.
The four suspects charged with murder are being held without bail while Guttierez is being held on $500,000 bail.
Guttierez, who is from El Salvador, insists he's not involved in the killing. He told the Daily News in a jailhouse interview at Rikers, "I go to work and come back and go straight to put my head down on my bed. I don't really talk to them or have energy to talk to them."
He said he was never in the park and had been at work. He also described the 13-year-old and 15-year-old suspects as siblings who moved in, explaining they were being abused by their mother.
"I'm not part of MS-13," Guttierez told the News. "But the others? I really don't know."