A leader of the MS-13 gang pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the death of a man who was shot and slashed with a machete by a group of people during an October 2016 attack.
Marlon Argueta Flores, 24, admitted he fired the fatal shots that killed Edwin Chicas, 22, in Manassas, Virginia, last year. Flores faces up to life in prison when he is sentenced in March 2018.
Prosecutors said Flores was one of eight people charged in the case, including two women. Those other cases have not gone to trial.
Detectives said Flores targeted Chicas for allegedly threatening the gang leader’s pregnant girlfriend and her unborn child. When asked by police why Chicas was shot 15 times, Flores said, “Hate.”
Investigators said 11 of the 15 shots hit Chicas, and he was slashed with a machete after the gunfire stopped.
Chicas was one of six siblings born in the United States to parents who emigrated from El Salvador decades ago. His family said they struggle to understand the severity of the violence.
“Why should someone die just because someone is angry?” said one of Edwin Chicas’ sisters. “How is it ok for someone to stalk someone until they are alone and kill them? That is not OK.”
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The family feared Edwin Chicas was involved in gang activity but never saw the signs at home. One of his sisters said families need to keep close tabs on their kids, even if it means searching their things to see if gangs are preying on them.
“Especially to the Latino community to parents out there, get involved with your children,” said another sister. “Go through their backpacks. Take your time go into their lockers. Go to their schools. See what your kids are doing, because you never know what you can find.”