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Three charged with attempted murder

By Times Staff
Published September 14, 2005

TAMPA - Three alleged members of the Latin Kings street gang were arrested Monday, accused of trying to kill a man with a concrete block and a malfunctioning gun during a fight.

The three suspects - 23-year-old Alexander Perez-Valdez, 24-year-old Neftali Rodriguez and 21-year-old Michael Lazaro Valdez - were arrested Monday night in separate places and charged early Tuesday in connection with the Aug. 13 fight, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

According to investigators, they went to the victim's Town 'N Country home and confronted the 23-year-old.

The suspects began fighting with the man in the front yard, deputies said. At one point, they hurled a piece of concrete at his head but missed, striking his car instead and causing $500 in damage, the Sheriff's Office said.

The victim's father was battered trying to break up the fight, officials said. One of the men pointed a gun at the 23-year-old and pulled the trigger, but the gun did not fire. The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Gang Task Force obtained warrants for three suspects and arrested them Monday night.

The suspects, all from northwest Hillsborough, were booked into the county jail early Tuesday and each face the following charges: attempted felony murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, burglary with battery and felony criminal mischief.

Additionally, Michael Lazaro Valdez and Rodriguez face drug charges, the Sheriff's Office said.

All three suspects remained in the county jail without bail Tuesday night.

The arrests follow an announcement that the FBI has created the Safe Streets Gang Task Force. Members include the FBI, the U.S. Attorney's Office, the Hillsborough County and Pinellas County sheriff's offices, Tampa police, the U.S. Marshals Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The task force will attempt to learn the scope of gang activity in the Tampa Bay area, including the presence of MS-13 gang members, a particularly brutal international gang whose members trace their roots to Central America.

To provide information on gang activity, call (866) 629-GANG, or 4264.

[Last modified September 14, 2005, 02:15:34]

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