FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM SEPTEMBER 19, 2019 • THE QUEENS COURIER 3
MS-13 members charged
in Alley Pond murder
Federal agents have charged three reputed street gang
members on Th ursday, Sept. 12, with the May 2017 murder
of a 16-year-old boy stabbed more than two dozen
times in Alley Pond Park in Bayside.
Authorities said the trio brutally murdered St. Albans
resident Julio Vasquez, 16, of 166th Street. A birdwatcher
discovered Vasquez’s decomposing remains on May 21,
2017, inside the park, off the intersection of 76th Avenue
and Cloverdale Boulevard.
Jamaica residents Josue Leiva, 22, and Luis Rivas, 24,
and Briarwood’s Melvi Amador-Rios, 28, now federal
charges of murder, attempted murder, murder conspiracy,
racketeering, robbery and fi rearms charges.
U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue stated on Sept. 12
that the murder plot was one of “multiple murder conspiracies”
in which they allegedly participated. Vasquez’s
death was the result of “a kill-or-be-killed plot” in which
Vasquez was ordered stabbed because he did not carry
out “a lethal order himself.”
“Th e mindless violence embodied by MS-13 presents
extreme danger to our communities and underscores the
resolve of this offi ce, together with our law enforcement
partners, to eradicate the gang,” Donoghue said.
Federal prosecutors said that, in early 2017, Amador-
Rios, acting as the leader of Centrales Locos Salvatruchas
(CLS), a clique within MS-13, ordered the murder of a
low-level member of MS-13 suspected of being associated
with a rival gang.
Later, authorities said, Amador-Rios suspected that
another gang member had tipped off the intended target,
and ordered his murder as well. He assigned Vasquez
to the task, but prosecutors said Vasquez failed to carry
out the order.
Th e indictment charges that Vasquez was lured into the
wooded area of Alley Pond Park, where Leiva and Rivas
stabbed him numerous times.
Th e city’s Medical Examiner conducted an autopsy
which determined that Vasquez had sustained 28 stab
wounds. It was estimated that his body had been in the
park for up to a week before being found.
Th e indictment further charges Amador-Rios and
Rivas with participating in a Jan. 8, 2017, armed robbery
at a money transfer business in Jamaica, during which
they pistol-whipped an employee.
Donoghue said the three defendants will be arraigned
at a later date. All three face life in prison if convicted.
“Th is case provides an illustration of extreme violence
of gangs and their members,” Police Commissioner
James O’Neill said. “And it’s why the NYPD and its law
enforcement partners aggressively pursue those who
commit violent crimes and put safe communities at risk.”
arrested in Bayside
Offi cers from the 111th Precinct stopped another package
thief from swiping boxes off of doorsteps in Bayside.
According to police, at 1:27 p.m. on Sept. 11, offi cers
responded to a 911 call regarding a suspicious person in
the vicinity of 209th Street and 35th Avenue. Upon their
arrival, the 44-year-old woman who made the call told
police that Nayid Melo, 28, had been allegedly removing
packages from nearby porches.
Th e victim allegedly confronted Melo, who put down
the packages. Police took him into police custody shortly
Melo was charged with petit larceny, criminal possession
of stolen property, criminal possession of a controlled
substance and criminal trespassing.
Th is arrest is the latest in the ongoing package theft
pattern. In April, the 111th Precinct arrested two men
who were connected to a series of grand larcenies, stealing
multiple packages in the northeast Queens area.
Photo via Twitter/Councilman Paul Vallone
Councilman Paul Vallone (c.) Standing with the Bayside High School PTA and fellow elected offi cials Friday morning to call on the
DOE to fairly fund the top performing school.
Bayside High School PTA calls for fair funding
BY CARLOTTA MOHAMED
Councilman Paul Vallone and
the Bayside High School Parent
Teacher Association and fellow
elected offi cials rallied outside the
school Friday morning calling on
the City Department of Education
(DOE) to provide 100 percent equitable
Congresswoman Grace Meng,
state Senator John Liu, and state
Assemblyman Edward Braunstein
joined Vallone across the street
from the entrance of Bayside High
School, located at 32-24 Corporal
Kennedy St., which has only
received 83 percent to 90 percent
of the funding amount expected
based upon the DOE’s Fair Student
Funding (FSF) formula.
Th e school faces an over $3 million
shortfall this year, according
“Strides to bring Bayside High
School fair funding are critical to
ensure educators have the resources
they need to contribute to continue
student success and high graduation
rates,” Vallone said. “I applaud
the PTA on their call for true equity
and I will continue advocacy eff orts
at City Hall.”
According to the FSF formula,
Bayside High School was slated to
receive $17.47 million for the 2020-
21 school year but instead got only
$14.3 million. Th e chronic low funding
resulted in the school cutting
the career and technical programs
(CTE), which is a signifi cant draw
for the 12,000 annual applicants.
Th e PTA added that the school is
the largest CTE school in the DOE.
David Solano, vice president of
the Friends of Bayside High School,
an alumni group that provides
internship and other opportunities,
said schools that do the hard work
of building programs to attract students,
like Bayside, are denied program
funding that the DOE promised.
“With 13,000 applications, we
get no CTE (Career & Technical
Education) portfolio funding,
about $300 per student, for any of
our six NYS approved programs
while the Specialized High Schools
and highly selective schools like
Townsend Harris get $1,000.00 per
student — just for being selective?
Bayside takes all types of learners
from three boroughs,” Solano said.
Paul DiBenedetto, president of
the Bayside High PTA, said that
while funding is supposed to be
based on the needs of each student,
the DOE discounts the percentage
of Fair Student Funding it provides
“Our research shows a tale of
two systems: over 130 small high
schools receive 100 percent to 128
percent of their amount due. Other
schools get 90 percent to 99 percent
of theirs. Th e lowest funded are the
large schools like Bayside — no
schools get lower funding in terms
of real dollars per student than
Bayside,” DiBenedetto said.
DiBenedetto added, “Th e school
has been unable to hire over 20
teachers needed to replace retirements
and properly staff our programs.
Now the DOE is demanding
cuts to guidance and other supports
for our students, 30 percent
of whom are special education or
English Language Learners.”
DiBenedetto said their eff orts to
engage the DOE have been respectful,
but met with false responses,
silence and disrespect.
“Literally thousands of residents
and parents contacted the DOE
to provide equitable funding, but
they refuse to listen. Isn’t this DOE
supposed to be all about community
and parent involvement?”
DiBenedetto said. “Th e school
graduates 97 to 98 percent of its
kids each year with almost all going
straight to colleges. Is the DOE
According to DiBenedetto, it may
be time to take the decisions out
of the DOE’s hands and into the
“As parents, we have a vested
interest in seeing our children
receive the same funding as other
children. As community residents,
we have a vested interest in seeing
this school continue to fl ourish,”
DiBenedetto said. “If the DOE
continues on this path, the parents
and community will seek legal
redress of their capricious funding
patterns. It’s obvious favoritism.”
In a statement to QNS, Danielle
Filson, deputy press secretary of
the DOE, said the administration
has added over $5 billion in education
funding, including raising the
Fair Student Funding percentage at
Bayside High School as well as adding
Career Technical Education and
College Access funding to the school.
“Th e school has six CTE programs,
and no programs are being
cut. We’ll be able to fund all schools
at 100 percent Fair Student Funding
when the State pays the $1.1 billion
it owes the city,” Filson said.
Th ere is a $750 million shortfall
in Fair Student Funding as a
result of the state’s failure to abide
by the Campaign for Fiscal Equity
settlement. Th e DOE has invested
over $1 billion cumulatively since
FY 2015 to raise the Fair Student
Funding fl oor from 81 percent to
90 percent for all schools, according
to the DOE.
Bayside High School received an
additional $250K in funding this
month based on increases in student
enrollment. Th e Executive
Superintendent and Superintendent
have been in touch with the PTA
and will be attending the next PTA
Executive Board meeting and SLT
meeting, the DOE said.