DA: Wake deputy's beating was a gang hit
Posted May 2, 2016 10:36 a.m. EDT
Updated May 2, 2016 6:33 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — The four men charged with ambushing a Wake County deputy at a child's birthday party in February were all "validated gang members," Assistant District Attorney Katie Pomeroy told the court Monday, during their plea hearings.
"This is a gang assault on a law enforcement officer and should be punished accordingly," she said.
Gabriel Moreno, 39, of 3717 Knightdale Estates Drive in Knightdale, pleaded guilty to assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury.
"I'm sorry for what I did. I wish I could take it back, but I can't," Moreno said in court. "Hopefully, you all can forgive me for what I did."
Three others – Miguel Angel Moreno, of 7216 Old Bunch Road in Wendell, Remi Nambo, of 908 Hadley Road in Raleigh, and Delfino Alejo, of 533 Johnson St. in Garner, pleaded guilty to assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury and malicious assault in secret.
Pomeroy said the deputy, whose identity was kept secret to protect his undercover work, was at the Panther Branch Community Center, at 10900 Ten-Ten Road in Garner, for a birthday party when Gabriel Moreno asked to speak to him outside.
The three others then jumped on the deputy, hitting him in the head and kicking him as he lay on the ground, Pomeroy said.
The men screamed at the deputy and called him a pig, she said.
Gabriel Moreno told the judge it was a "spontaneous decision" to attack the deputy, but Judge Graham A. Shirley disagreed.
"I have a hard time finding this is a spontaneous act," he said. "This was a beat-down. This wasn't a fight."
Alejo said things got out of hand.
"Alcohol got involved," he said in an apology to the deputy. "It's a stupid act. I hope you can accept my apology."
Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison, who watched in the courtroom, said he was appalled by the attack.
"No question in my mind, from the evidence we picked up and the verbiage that was said, that it was a vendetta for some reason against law enforcement," he said. "It frustrates me to no end."
Gabriel Moreno and Alejo were sentenced to 33 to 52 months in jail. Miguel Moreno was sentenced to 29 to 47 months, and Nambo was sentenced to 25 to 42 months.
The deputy missed work for weeks, Pomeroy told the court, with six broken bones, cuts and bruises and kidney damage.