17-year-old fatally shot in front yard on Long Island

EAST PATCHOGUE, New York (WABC) -- Suffolk County detectives are investigating the death of a teen who was shot in East Patchogue early Tuesday.

Now, the family of 17-year-old Emilio Sanchez Maldonado is pleading for police to find who did it.

"I want justice for the people who did this," dad Jose Antonio Sanchez said.

Sanchez said he knew something was wrong when he kept calling his son and getting no answer, so he left work only to find his son shot to death in the front of their house on Hampton Avenue.

It appears Sanchez Maldonado was riding his bicycle out of the backyard when he was shot. His body was found slumped up against the fence next to his bike, and several bullet holes can be seen in the fence.

"He's my nephew," uncle Nahum Cruz said. "I feel so sad."

Ana Benavides lives in the front of the house. She said she heard what she thought were fireworks around 11:30 p.m. Monday. It wasn't until Sanchez showed up on her front doorstep four hours later, around 3:30 a.m., that she realized they had been gunshots.

"He was ringing the door bell, he was running around like crazy," Benavides said. "He was like, 'My son, my son!' But I didn't know what he was talking about. And I was like, 'Can you calm down and tell me what happened?' He's like, 'My son's dead.' And then I walked out and saw him lying there on his bike."

Sanchez said he believes his son's death was at the hands of MS-13. Sanchez Maldonado, a student at Bellport High School, immigrated to the United States from El Salvador four years ago.

Sanchez said his son had tons of friends and didn't have problems with people.

"I spoke with him all the time," he said. "I would tell him, if you have problems with someone, tell me. And he would always say, 'No I don't have problems with anyone.'"

Suffolk police would not comment on the possibility of an MS-13 connection, only saying the shooting is under investigation.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Homicide Squad at 631-852-6392 or call anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS.

* More Long Island news
* Send us a news tip
* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts
Copyright © 2021 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.