An MS-13 gang member has been sentenced to more than 25 years in prison for a 2016 shooting in Queens that left a 16-year-old paralyzed.
Queens resident Kevin Paniagua was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Roslynn Mauskopf in Brooklyn federal court on Tuesday after pleading guilty to attempted murder in June 2018.
Prosecutors said Paniagua and two others beat the teenager because they believed he was a member of one of MS-13's chief rivals, the 18th Street gang. The shooting occurred near the intersection of 179th Street and 90th Avenue in Jamaica in October 2016.
Prosecutors say Paniagua shot the victim in the face and attempted to shoot him again as he lay on the sidewalk, but the gun jammed.
“When I woke up in the hospital, the doctor told me that I wasn’t going to be able to move.” the victim said in an impact statement read to the court. “I started to cry. My tears were rolling down my face. I thought about how I would never be able to play soccer again.”
“I was in the hospital for one year without being able to go to school and now I’m behind two years in school,” the victim continued. “I remember I was taking so much medication in the beginning. I am still getting spasms in my legs and fingers. Now my goal is to graduate in May and go to college to be an architect.”