Charges dropped against Hyattsville man sought in connection with teen’s slaying -- Gazette.Net


This story was updated at 9:45 a.m. Dec. 10, 2012.

Prince George’s County police have dropped the charges against one man and issued an arrest warrant for another while investigating a the slaying of a 14-year-old in Lewisdale last week that is believed to be gang related.

Police are now looking for 18-year-old Luis Carlos Guzman-Ventura of the 2300 block of Rittenhouse Street in Lewisdale, in connection with the drive-by shooting Dec. 5 of Eliezer Benjamin Reyes, 14.

A warrant for John Junior Hernandez, 22, of Hyattsville was issued Friday, charging him with first-degree murder, but the charges were rescinded after police discovered new evidence that they said cleared Hernandez.

On Dec. 6, police arrested one suspect, Luis Rodriguez-Nunez, 24, of Hyattsville, and charged him with second-degree murder and first-degree assault.

Guzman-Ventura’s warrant charges him with first-degree murder. Police would not said if Guzman-Ventura is believed to have been the shooter in the case.

“It’s all under investigation. A warrant was issued for his arrest so one can believe that he or [Rodriguez-Nunez] played a part in the shooting,” said Cpl. Maria McKinney, a county police spokeswoman.

Police said Reyes, of Lewisdale, had been walking with two “documented gang members” and a 19-year-old man, who was also struck by bullets, just after midnight Dec. 5.

The second victim was taken to a hospital for injuries but has since been treated and released, police said.

County police said around 12:11 a.m., a vehicle approached the group of four and opened fire. Police are currently trying to identify and locate the other two individuals who were with the victims.

Detectives in District 1, along with special assignment teams and gang squads, are “hitting the area pretty hard” to prevent possible gang-related retaliation violence, said Lt. Bill Alexander, a county police spokesman.

Alexander said police took one man into custody Dec. 5 after a traffic stop in Hyattsville involving the vehicle used in the shooting. Police could not confirm if Nunez was the same individual police took in for questioning during the traffic stop, and police would not say how many individuals were in the vehicle at the time of the stop.

“That’s still being investigated, who was in the vehicle. We’re not confirming one way or the other as to not jeopardize the investigation,” said Officer First Class Edward Martin, a county police spokesman.

A motive in the shooting is not yet known and a murder weapon has not been recovered, though the shooting has been linked to gang activity, police said. Police have not yet said which gang or gangs may be involved.

Reyes had been a student at Nicholas Orem Middle School in Hyattsville, but this year attended Foundations School, an independent special education school in Largo for students with emotional disabilities, said Briant Coleman, a Prince George’s County Public Schools spokesman.

Coleman said Nicholas Orem sent a letter to students’ parents notifying them of the incident.

“Many of his classmates are still at that school. The school’s counselors were also made available to students,” Coleman said. “We also increased security at the school and around the other schools in the area.”