Brayan Andino, 16, was murdered by MS-13 gang members after he was lured to Lake Balboa in Los Angeles, California, back in October 2017. Two female gang associates, who were also students, had gained Andino’s trust, which is why he went with them to the lake. The two were part of the Fulton clique, a faction within MS-13. When Andino arrived at the lake, other members of the gang beat him to death. They then dismembered his body, cut his heart out, and threw him into a canyon, where he was later found.
School administrators said nothing after Andino disappeared in October 2017. They said nothing when his body was found two months later. They said nothing about his funeral and didn’t even offer condolences.
The Los Angeles Times reported at the end of July that Panorama High School – where Andino was a student – declined to let parents, students, and teachers know about the dangers of the gang. The school reportedly claimed that MS-13 had little presence on the campus and had never committed violence on the campus, and therefore other students weren’t in danger.
The Times, however, reported another MS-13-related incident occurred “at the edge” of the campus just one month before Andino’s murder.
“At least two MS-13 members, including two former Panorama students, are suspected of stabbing and wounding a student as he was leaving school, officials acknowledged,” the outlet reported.
In addition to the previous incident, at least five of the 10 suspects arrested in Andino’s murder were Panorama High students, the Times reported.
The arrests weren’t even announced for 17 months. Capt. William P. Hayes, commander of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Robbery-Homicide Division, told the Times that investigators were “concerned about the flight risk of suspects and the loss of critical information.” They also worried that they were worried that if word got out around the school, students discussing the murder and the gang could wind up targets themselves.
“You’re trying to prevent people from saying stupid things that would put them at risk,” he told the Times.
A federal indictment unsealed last month revealed that the gang members approached the victim, yelled “MS” to announce their gang affiliated and suspected the victim was a member of a rival gang. The victim claimed he was not, but was stabbed “in the back and abdomen.” The student survived after he managed to make it to the school’s office, where someone was able to call for help.
The Times described MS-13’s presence at the high school as a “beachhead,” even though the school district has apparently denied such a presence. From the Times:
As details of the gang’s connections have become public over the last week, some parents and teachers have questioned why officials didn’t alert the campus community earlier.
Only after a federal grand jury indicted 22 adults on racketeering and murder charges earlier this month did officials with the Los Angeles Unified School District acknowledge that students from Panorama High had also been arrested.
The accused, according to Prosecutors, are members of the Fulton clique that killed seven people in the span of more than two years.
Kelly Gonez, the school board representative for the San Fernando Valley area, told the Times that the school district relies on law enforcement for judgment.
“In situations like these, we rely on the best judgment of the law enforcement experts who are working to uncover the truth and bring perpetrators to justice,” she said. “The best way to ensure the safety of our students, staff and families at Panorama High School and the broader community is to ensure that these violent criminals are arrested and put in jail.”