Teen Found Murdered Had Been Arrested in Connection to Assault on Construction Worker

Police say Jose Herrera and three other men were using an empty house as a gang hideout

A teenager found dead on Christmas Eve was a suspected MS-13 gang member who was arrested in connection to an assault on a Purple Line construction worker in the fall, police say.

Jose Herrera, 18, was one of four men arrested in mid-October for allegedly squatting in an empty house on University Boulevard East in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Police say the group of men were MS-13 gang members using the house -- which was set to be demolished for Purple Line construction --  as a gang hideout.

On Oct. 17, a Purple Line construction worker was in the process of checking to make sure the house was empty when he stumbled upon the alleged gang members and they confronted him with guns and a machete, police said.

According to court documents, police found a shrine to the Santa Muerte, the saint of death, and graffiti honoring MS-13 members inside the house - as well as a skull mask painted with blood.

Herrera was charged with fourth-degree burglary and trespassing private property.

Three days before Christmas Herrera was released from jail on bond. On Sunday, he was found shot to death inside an apartment building on Quebec Terrace in Silver Spring. Police said Herrera was shot multiple times.

No arrests have been made in the murder.

Contact Us