Bronx dad killed trying to help son in gang-related clash

A gunman on a bicycle shot a Bronx dad dead in front of his teenage son and wounded another man Tuesday, after the father tried to stand up for his boy during a gang-related fight, police sources said.

Pedro Almonte-Sanchez, 39, was getting into his car, where his 15-year-old son, Justin Sanchez, was already waiting, near their Strong St. home in University Heights just before 6 p.m. when a group of young men on bikes confronted him, sources said.

One of the bike riders pulled out a handgun and opened fire, hitting the dad several times, including in the head. A second victim, Fernando Castillo, 25, suffered a graze wound to his head, police sources said.

The victim’s son is a member of the Patria street gang, according to the sources. He recently transferred to a new high school — and trouble followed.

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“His father might have been intervening. He was shot multiple times, at least once in the head,” one cop source said. “We’re talking to his son.”

The victim’s family runs a day care center out of his home.

The victim’s son, 15-year-old Justin Sanchez, is a member of the Patria street gang.


One distraught relative, who declined to give her name, said Almonte-Sanchez was studying to become a minister.

“He was a good man. He loves his family,” the shaken woman said. “He leaves four kids.”

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Justin Sanchez had been feuding with rival gang members for the past two months, she said.

Medics took Castillo to Montefiore Medical Center in stable condition, sources said.

Cops were trying to sort out if he was hit by a stray bullet, or whether the gunman was trying to snuff him.

“There were six shots and then an extra one,” said one witness, who wouldn’t give her name. “He was getting into his car, and his son was already inside. That’s why they shot the dad.”

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The mortally wounded Almonte-Sanchez dropped to the ground, with blood coming from his head, while Castillo cried out.

“The other guy, he was screaming, ‘Help me, help me!’ holding his head. People rushed to give him shirts to stop the bleeding,” she said.

Police were searching early Wednesday for the shooter and his accomplices.

The killing happened amid a spate of gun violence Tuesday night in the Bronx and Brooklyn that left two other adults and a 14-year-old boy wounded.


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