Police are investigating whether the shooting at the Maverick T station that injured two people may be related to a feud between two rival Latin American gangs.
A law enforcement source with knowledge of the case identified the shooting victim and intended target as Mauricio Ordaz, 29, a known affiliate of Boston’s 18th Street gang. A 43-year-old man was also shot while standing on the platform. Both men suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
The shooting began Tuesday afternoon with a verbal fight on a Blue Line train, according to transit police. After the train came to a stop, the suspect fired several shots from the platform at Ordaz before fleeing. The suspect remains at large.
A law enforcement source told Boston.com that police are investigating whether an ongoing feud between 18th Street and a rival gang, Mara Salvatrucha, may be behind a recent spate of violence that left four young men dead in the East Boston, Chelsea, and Everett areas.
A Boston police spokesman declined to comment on the investigation.
Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, and 18th Street, or M-18, are both Latin American gangs that originally took shape in Los Angeles. According to the Department of Homeland Security, M-18 was formed in the 1960s by Mexican immigrants, while MS-13 was created in the 1980s by El Salvadorian immigrants escaping civil war. Gang members on both sides were then deported back to their home countries, creating deeper ties in Latin America.
Today, feuds between the two groups account for El Salvador’s rising murder rate. The groups have longstanding-ties to the Boston area. Over the past decade, fear that the groups may be growing in the area has sparked several federal immigration sweeps.
Court records show Ordaz was convicted of manslaughter after beating to death Santos Flores, 19, an MS-13 affiliate, in 2002. Ordaz was 15 at the time. In a police photo shared with Boston.com, Ordaz has large tattoos of the numbers one and eight on either shoulder, a mark of allegiance to M-18.
According to the Lowell Sun, Ordaz was sentenced to nine years in prison when he was caught attempting to smuggling heroin into the prison. He was then moved to another correctional facility, where he was held under maximum security 23 hours a day.
Court records do not indicate when he was released from prison. His attorney, Jeanne Earley, did not return a request for comment Wednesday.
East Boston and surrounding neighborhoods near the Maverick T station have suffered from an uptick of violent crime in recent months. In September, 15-year-old Wilson Martinez was found stabbed to death on Constitution Beach, in East Boston. Later that month, 15-year-old Irvin De Paz Castro was stabbed to death in Chelsea.
And on January 3, 19-year-old Omar Wilfredo Reyes, was found shot on a bike path in Everett and later died. A week later, 16-year-old Christofer Perez-De la Cruz marked the city’s first murder of the year after he was found shot to death in East Boston in the early hours of January 10.
A law enforcement source told Boston.com that investigators are looking into the possibility that the victims may all have been affiliated with 18th Street.