Photo: Youngest Defendent in 2007 NJ School Shooting, Gerardo Gomez, Convicted
On Friday, a New Jersey jury convicted Gerardo Gomez of murder, felony murder, robbery, and conspiracy charges for the 2007 schoolyard shooting at Mount Vernon Elementary School in Newark.
Gomez, 20, was the youngest of six involved in the shooting of four college students removed from a car outside the elementary school in August 2007.
Three of the students, Dashon Harvey, 20, Terrance Aeriel, 18, and Iofemi Hightower, 20, were led down a flight of stairs, lined up against a wall and subsequently shot and killed. Iofemi Hightower was “mutilated by a machete.” The fourth student, 19, was shot in the head, but survived the attack, according to authorities.
Prior to being shot the victims were robbed by their attackers.
Though there was no evidence any of the victims were involved in any gang activity, at least four of the attackers were members of the MS-13 gang.
MS-13 originated in Los Angeles but has since spread throughout the country and occasionally connected to Mexican drug activity.
Gomez had turned 15 the same day at the attack and though his attorney argued his client was just an innocent bystander, Gomez was convicted on 15 counts. He was the youngest and final defendant in the case, and the victims’ families say they are happy it is over so “now the healing aspect can begin.”
Each of the victims, who knew each other from their time together in marching band, were enrolled or planned to enroll at the University of Delaware.