Latin Kings Member Charged In Teen’s Killing

ELIZABETH — Last week the Union County Homicide Task Force arrested a Elizabeth resident and member of the Latin Kings street gang and charged him with the shooting death of a 16-year-old earlier this summer, Union County Prosecutor Theodore J. Romankow announced Monday.

Ruben Vega, 22, is charged in the murder of Juan Carlos Montijo, age 16, which occurred on the 800 block of Laurita Street in Linden, on July 25 at 8:39 pm, said Romankow. The prosecutor’s office identified Montijo as a confirmed member of the Crips street gang.

A second defendant, Jonathan Arrango, was previously charged with the murder on Aug. 8, according to the prosecutor’s office. A third suspect, Elizabeth resident Juan Ayala, 20, committed suicide on July 29, four days after the murder of Montijo, Romankow said. Ayala was also a confirmed member of the Latin Kings, according to the prosecutor’s office.

Assistant Prosecutor Caroline Lawlor approved complaints for murder and weapons charges against Vega. Vega’s bail was set at $1 million and he is being lodged in the Union County Jail.

The prosecutor’s office did not offer any information about a possible motive for the killing or whether gang affiliations may have played a role.

These criminal charges are mere accusations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.

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