Gwinnett teen shot to death was trying to protect brother from gang, police say

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — Police say an MS-13 gang member killed a Gwinnett County teenager for trying to recruit his brother.

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Jose Daniel Martinez, 16, was shot to death earlier this month behind an abandoned house on Paden Mill Trail in Lawrenceville.

Channel 2′s Gwinnett County Bureau Chief Matt Johnson was in Lawrenceville, where police said 20-year-old Dennis Caldazilla-Hernandez shot and killed Martinez. The accused gang member is known as “Lobo.”

Johnson heard testimony from an undercover detective, who said the gang wanted Martinez’s brother to rejoin, but he didn’t want to. Martinez lied to Caldazilla-Hernandez about his brother’s location, which Caldazilla-Hernandez perceived as “disrespectful,” so he lured Martinez to the house and shot him.


“He was furthering the gang’s interests by murdering an individual that was protecting someone the gang was looking for,” the undercover officer testified. “

The officer who testified said that the name “Lobo” is actually spray-painted on the house where Martinez was killed.

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Police said Caldazilla-Hernandes admitted to going out in his mother’s SUV with the victim that night. Video from the neighborhood allegedly shows his mother’s SUV leaving the scene ten minutes after the murder.

Caldazilla-Hernandes’ attorney denies that he was involved in the murder or with any gang.

“Mr. Calzadilla denied having membership in Ms. 13, but admitted that he had a lot of friends that were in MS 13,” the attorney said.

Police charged him with being in a gang and using a crime to move up in the gang, but the judge dismissed the second gang charge, saying there was not enough probable cause.

Calzadilla-Hernandes remains in jail with no bond.