Kudos to those who had the guts to tell their story and the reporter, Sarah Garland for taking the risk to document that and letting the world know.
THE phone rang at 4 p.m., just as Francisco Dueñas was leaving his house here on a tidy Long Island block with trimmed hedges. He had no time to talk. He was serving at a wedding reception that started in half an hour, and was already dressed in his tuxedo with the sleeves pulled down over his tattooed arms.
Francisco answered anyway. He recognized the number as belonging to El Niño, a 15-year-old nicknamed for his baby face whom Francisco had taken under his wing the year before, tutoring him in the rules of his gang, Salvadorans With Pride.
“They just stabbed Mikey on the handball court,” the boy said. He sounded panicked.
“Who did?” Francisco asked.
El Niño answered with a curse in Spanish: the slang they used to refer to their rival gang, Mara Salvatrucha.
Mikey — Michael Alguera — was also 15, the younger brother of a friend Francisco had known since middle school. Francisco, now 20, had played hundreds of handball games on the court between Hempstead High School and the Garden City golf course. He usually lost when he was matched up against Mikey, a handball whiz.