RALEIGH, NC – Four men have been charged with ambushing a Wake County deputy at a child’s birthday party over the weekend and beating and kicking him.
Gabriel Moreno, 39, of 3717 Knightdale Estates Drive in Knightdale, Miguel Angel Moreno, 25, of 7216 Old Bunch Road in Wendell, Remi Nambo, 27, of 908 Hadley Road in Raleigh, and Delfino Alejo, 27, of 533 Johnson St. in Garner, were each charged with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury and malicious assault in secret.
Gabriel Moreno was being held in the Wake County jail under a $2 million bond, while the other three are being held under $1 million bonds. Wake County Assistant District Attorney Katie Pomeroy said Gabriel Moreno tried to run from and then fought with deputies trying to arrest him, so his bond was increased.
All four were ordered to be kept apart in jail and are prohibited from having visitors or getting phone calls.
“They’re a bunch of cowards, and they should be in jail for a long time,” Sheriff Donnie Harrison said Wednesday.
The deputy, who isn’t being identified to protect his work in undercover operations and for his family’s safety, was at the Panther Branch Community Center, at 10900 Ten-Ten Road in Garner, for a birthday party on Saturday when, according to investigators, Gabriel Moreno asked to speak to him outside. The other three men were hiding behind parked cars outside, and when the deputy came out, they attacked him, Harrison said.
“They hit him, knocked him down to the ground, just started beating him,” the sheriff said.
The deputy suffered broken ribs, a broken nose and a back injury. He was treated at WakeMed and is now recuperating at home.
Pomeroy said the four men are in a gang.
Authorities aren’t sure why the deputy was targeted.
“They were saying, ‘You’re a cop. You’re a pig,'” Harrison said. “He doesn’t know how they knew he was a police officer or a deputy sheriff.”
Investigators are trying to determine if the deputy had arrested any of the men or an acquaintance of theirs in the past, he said.
Three of the four men have criminal records – Miguel Moreno is on probation for an assault last March, Gabriel Moreno served time a decade ago for an assault and Alejo finished a sentence for robbery a year ago – and Nambo and the Morenos both have pending assault and resisting arrest charges in a separate incident.
Harrison said it the motive for the attack might simply be a dislike of law enforcement.
“We found out you’re a cop, and we don’t like you. We’re going to do something about it – and they did,” he said. “It’s bad when a person can’t even go to a party, when a person can’t even go out to eat with the family, without being – somebody’s looking over my shoulder.”
More arrests are possible in the case, he said.