It’s the worst fear of any mother to send their children out and have them not return home. Sadly, that worst case scenario played out after MS-13 member Leniz Escobar lured Elmer Ruiz and four of his friends into a wooded area in 2017, where they would be ambushed by machete-wielding MS-13 gang members. According to Escobar’s trial which began on March 17th, Escobar lured the young men to the park where they were executed by the gang members by texting and asking if they had any interest in joining her at a local park to smoke marijuana. Soon after, the group was surrounded by eight or nine MS-13 members.
Fortunately, Ruiz fled prior to the attack. According to Ruiz, the gang members said they would kill them after demanding for everyone to get down on their knees. That’s when he made the brave decision to take off running for his life. “I ran and ran,” he said. Thank God I was able to escape. It’s unfortunate that the same couldn’t be said for his friends. Even though they tried to escape, they weren’t fast enough and suffered at the hands of the MS-13 gang members. During opening statements, federal prosecutors said that the victims were only “high school kids trying to look tough” by displaying gang signs on social media, which is an act that MS-13 members took as disrespect. Among those killed in the attack were two 18-year olds, a 16-year old and a 20-year-old.
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Escobar’s trial is expected to last several weeks. Escobar, who was 17 at the time of the attacks, denies prosecutors’ assertion that the crime was committed to help improve her standing within the gang. Over the duration of the trial, it’s likely a safe bet that all of the grizzly details regarding the attack will be unveiled.