Officials Defend 21-Months Secrecy Of Student’s Murder By MS-13 Gang
And He Was Not The Only Victim.
MS-13 gang has been causing havoc in the lives of San Fernando residents since 2012. The gangsters butchered their enemies and rivals by using machetes, knives and other deadly weapons. Recently, 22 suspected members of MS-13 gang are indicted for numerous crimes including assaults and murders. One of their crimes included a student’s murder in October 2017. However, the officials kept his murder secret and after 21-months, they are defending their secrecy now.
Murder Of Panorama High School Student BY MS-13
In October 2017, two members of MS-13 (females) lured a 16-Year old student Brayan Andino to a park. Few other members of MS-13 (including classmates) were already waiting for him there. They took him to Angeles National Forest and stabbed him to death. Though he was killed off-campus, but other students have been attacked by the gang too. The murder was kept a secret by the Officials and it was made public a week ago. Following which, many parents and teachers have started questioning why they were not informed of the murder before. This 21-months secrecy raises a huge question on the safety of other students of the school, as well as other schools where MS-13 members are studying.
The Extreme Level Of Secrecy By The Officials
The school administration did not share Brayan’s missing news. He was not attending school and no one questioned it initially. His body was found in Mid-December and the officials still stayed silent. There was no news of his funeral or condolences. Keeping secret is one thing, threatening others who started questioning his absence should be classified as a crime as well. A former teacher tried to question investigators about the rumors. But he was suspended next day.
After 2 months in February 2018, 7 students along with 3 other gang members were arrested. But again, the arrests were kept secret for 17 months till now. The school students, however, heard rumors of a student’s murder. Many of them felt unsafe in the school but they did not have any details or reasons behind the murder. The Principal informed their class teachers that few students have been detained from school. No further details were shared with them. These students were the ones who got arrested by police, and the names also included Brayan who was the victim of MS-13.
Hunting Ground For MS-13 Gang
It is reported that the school was hunting ground for the MS-13 gang. MS-13 has immigrants as members and Brayan was an immigrant too. The girl who lured him to the park was a teen-mother and she was his friend from 5 years. However, she must have joined the gang at some point because it changed her loyalties. None of the crimes took place inside the school. But the administration knew about the MS-13 members inside the school. They dressed up in the typical MS-13 style.
The teachers who knew about the investigation were asked by the police officials to stay silent. These teachers were worried that other students might be at risk and the parents must be informed.
Justifications For The Secrecy
The officials say that Brayan’s murder and investigation was kept secret because of valid reasons. They did not want the MS-13 members to skip the school. Their absence would have resulted in loss of information and damage to the investigation. Officials also claim that other students were not at risk because none of the crimes took place inside the school. However, that still does not justify the secrecy. Grief can hit hard at younger age and students need grief counselors. But the murder was kept a secret and students were left uninformed.
We constantly have to weigh the needs of the investigation against putting out public information. We were concerned about the flight risk of suspects and the loss of critical information.
The school-going teens have been charged by the Juvenile Court. Few of the students and their parents are rethinking the future of their children in schools.