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Crime and Punishment in NELA: Conviction in Murder of Homeless Man in 2018

2020 Crime Editions March

By Mary Lynch

Two members of the Avenues gang were recently convicted for shootings that killed one homeless man and injured another in Montecito Heights in 2018.

Daniel Duarte, who was homeless, was shot and killed in 2018.

Andrew Palacios, 21, was convicted of 2nd degree murder in the killing of Daniel Duarte, 31, while Duarte slept in his tent at the encampment at Avenue 52 and Griffin Avenue. Jimmy Perez, 33, was convicted of 1st degree attempted murder of another (unnamed) victim in the tent.

Palacios and Perez, who were arrested shortly after the shootings and have been in jail ever since, were also convicted of illegally possessing firearms.

Palacios and Perez were at the encampment looking for rival gang members but found none, according to trial evidence. As Palacios walked into the last tent, he randomly shot the two men inside, killing Duarte. The other victim, who survived a gunshot to the head, identified Palacios and Perez and testified at the trial.

Prosecutor Seth Carmack said he is satisfied with the outcome but noted: “This tragedy is unfortunately not uncommon, given the level of gang violence that plagues our city.”

Sentencing for Palacios and Perez is set for May 4.