By Connor Beach
Three alleged members of the MS-13 street gang arrested Wednesday after a teen was stabbed at the Big H shopping center in Huntington entered the country illegally, according to Suffolk District Attorney Tim Sini.
At a press conference Thursday afternoon Sini detailed the incident that sent a 16-year-old Huntington High School student to the hospital and left at least one other teen injured.
Police were called to the Burger King in the Big H shopping center at 837 New York Avenue at 3:38 p.m. on Jan. 9 where a fight had broken out between two groups, Sini said.
The alleged MS-13 members – Nobeli Montes Zuniga, 20, Ramon Arevalo Lopez, 19, and Oscar Canales Molina, 17, all of Huntington Station – “charged after the teens while wielding bats and knives, and an altercation broke out,” Sini said.
During the ensuing “melee,” Sini said Lopez stabbed the 16-year-old.
The stabbing victim was taken from the scene to Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. Sini said another teen was also injured in the incident.
The three suspects took off in a Toyota, and were arrested in the vehicle a short time later “with blood on their clothing and hands,” Sini said.
Zuniga, Lopez and Molina are all “confirmed” members of the MS 13 gang, and all entered the country illegally,Sini said.
According to the DA:
• The alleged stabber, Lopez, entered the country illegally on Dec. 8, 2016 and was picked up by the Department of Homeland Security in October 2017. A federal judge released him from custody in June 2018.
• Molina entered the country as an unaccompanied minor. He was picked up by Homeland Security in July 2017 and released by a federal judge on November 28 of that year.
• Zuniga entered the country as an unaccompanied minor.
There was increased security at Huntington High School Thursday.
In a letter posted to the district website Wednesday night, Huntington Superintendent James Polansky said high school staff was aware of the incident.
“So as to take every precaution possible, additional security measures will be in place at the school tomorrow morning and a police presence has been requested,” Polansky said in the letter.
Suffolk Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart confirmed police acted on Polansky’s request and had officers at the high school Thursday during lunchtime and at dismissal.
She said Thursday afternoon no incidents had occurred at the school.
Zuniga, Lopez and Molina were all charged with second-degree assault. They were arraigned at First District Court in Central Islip on Jan. 10.
Lopez’s bail was set at $35,000, according to Sini.