Video game developer dies after suspected Latin King member smashes his head against metal door

Jose Zambrano (pictured) died after sustaining head injuries outside Mezcaleria La Milagrosa in Brooklyn

A thriving video game entrepreneur has died after being allegedly assaulted by a Latin Kings gang member outside a bar in New York City because he did not have an extra cigarette to share.

Jose Zambrano, 26, was walking home from Mezcaleria La Milagrosa, a small bar hidden behind a deli on Havemeyer Street in Brooklyn, around 4:30 a.m. on November 17 when a group of men approached him and him asked for a cigarette.

“They weren’t looking for a cigarette. They were looking for a fight, ‘said the bar owner, who has remained anonymous New York Daily News.

After he said no, Zambrano’s friends say the group of men started taunting him before he verbally retaliated at the hecklers.

Feeling aggrieved, the group of men reportedly surrounded the block and attacked Zambrano.

Police said the men punched and threw Zambrano to the ground during the altercation.

Joshua Hernandez, a man who officials say is part of the Latin Kings, allegedly fatally punched Zambrano on the back of the head and caused the Brooklyn native to bang his head against a nearby metal door.

Zambrano reportedly left Mezcaleria La Milagrosa (pictured) around 4:30 a.m. on Sunday when Joshua Hernandez and a group of men approached him

Zambrano reportedly left Mezcaleria La Milagrosa (pictured) around 4:30 a.m. on Sunday when Joshua Hernandez and a group of men approached him

A bartender went to help Zambrano as suspected gang members fled the scene.

Zambrano was transported to the intensive care unit at Bellevue hospital center where he was surrounded by his relatives before passing away Thursday, four days after the initial assault.

Relatives from Venezuela, Houston and Miami rushed to his bedside, and relatives later mourned Zambrano’s death at his Williamsburg apartment.

Julie Piñero, Zambrano’s girlfriend, said: “He was visited by over 40 friends and family who came to support and pay tribute every day.”

“To say he was loved only scratches the surface.”

Authorities found Hernandez, 25, in a Checkers restaurant hours after the attack and took him into custody.

Piñero: “He received the visit of more than 40 friends and family members who came every day to support and pay homage to him.  To say he was loved only scratches the surface '

Piñero: “He received the visit of more than 40 friends and family members who came every day to support and pay homage to him. To say he was loved only scratches the surface ‘

He pleaded not guilty to assault and misdemeanor in a Brooklyn courtroom before bail was set at $ 20,000.

Latin kings

According to Department of Justice, the Latin Kings are a street gang formed in Chicago in the 1960s and made up mostly of Mexican and Puerto Rican men.

The group was originally created to challenge racial stereotypes, but has evolved into criminal activity across the United States.

The group operates under two umbrella factions, Motherland (King Motherland Chicago) and Bloodline (New York).

The start of the New York Chapter is attributed to Luis Felipe in 1986 while in the correctional system.

Those who associate with Bloodline also refer to themselves as the “Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation (ALKQN).

The DOJ estimates that the number of members is between 2,200 and 7,500 in America

In Chicago, Motherland’s membership is estimated at around 20,000 to 35,000

The Latin Kings are associated with a variety of crimes including identity theft, money laundering and burglary

In the aftermath of Zambrano’s death, the alleged member of the Latin Kings could face high charges.

Hernandez’s mother cried when her son was brought back into custody and, once outside the courtroom, shouted at a reporter, “Yo, yo, get the hell out of here, brother! “

The New York Daily News reports that Hernandez has previously been convicted of a felony, including a 2015 incident where he intentionally struck a police officer on a bicycle.

As a result, the officer was forced to get stitches.

Despite law enforcement claims that Hernandez is affiliated with a gang, his mother says that is simply not true.

She said, ‘He’s not a gang member. It is an ordinary child who goes to work. No one really knows what happened.

Zambrano was originally from Venezuela and graduated from Suffolk University to pursue a career in finance.

He worked at a brokerage firm before refocusing on game design, Zambrano’s roommate told the New York Daily News.

Cameron Davis Colan said: “He realized that (finance) was not what he wanted to be, or what he loved.”

Robert Caniello (right) shared Zambrano's death (left) on Twitter and said his close friend

Robert Caniello (right) shared Zambrano’s death (left) on Twitter and said his close friend “had fled peacefully surrounded by his closest friends and family”

Zambrano turned his passions into a career focused on game design, taking an eight-week game coding course in 2015 where he met his future development partner, Robert Caniello.

Zambrano and Caniello then created Stuido Studios, a virtual reality studio that produces interactive products like the horror game “Don’t Look Away”.

Caniello took to Twitter to express his grief over the loss of his business partner and close friend, Zambrano

Caniello: “I will never forget your courage.  You and I still have so much to do.  Burn in my heart and soul forever '

Caniello: “I will never forget your courage. You and I still have so much to do. Burn in my heart and soul forever ‘

“It is with utter agony in my heart and soul that I even have to say this. Yesterday my close friend, my business partner, my creative other half and my other brother, Jose Zambrano passed away peacefully surrounded by his closest friends and family, ”he said.

“I will never forget your courage. You and I still have so much to do. Burn in my heart and soul forever. I fucking love you so much. ‘

The medical examiner will determine the official cause of Zambrano’s death.


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