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Nov. 8, 2008

Arrest made in murder of Tai Lam

by Kiera Zitelman, Online Editor-in-Chief
Around 7 p.m. on Friday, Montgomery County police arrested Hector Mauricio Hernandez, 20, of Takoma Park, for the murder of Blair freshman Tai Lam, according to Lieutenant Robert McCullagh. Detectives obtained a warrant for first degree murder. Hernandez is a member of the MS-13 gang, though police are still investigating whether gang involvement played a role in the shooting. He is being held without bond.

Lam, 14, and two others, 14 and 15, boarded a Ride On bus in Silver Spring with a large group of friends on Nov. 2. The three boys were shot around 11 p.m. after a verbal exchange with a group of four to five older men. When the bus stopped at Arliss Street and Piney Branch Road, the older group exited the bus. One of them fired into the back of the bus, hitting Lam and the two other boys, who attend Blair and Northwood High School.

The nature of the verbal exchange is still under investigation. "For unknown reasons...as one of those subjects was getting off, he turned and fired a handgun from the area of the rear door of the bus into the bus striking the three teens," according to a police press release. "That subject has been identified as Hernandez."

Lam died later that night, while the other boys were taken to Georgetown University MedStar Hospital in critical condition. Both have since been released and are recovering from their injuries.

Police are still searching for others on the bus and expect to make more arrests, according to McCullagh. "We are still looking for associates as witnesses or defendants," he said.

Hernandez will be brought before a grand jury for indictment, and the next step would be a Montgomery County circuit court trial. "They will eventually stand trial in Montgomery County for murder," McCullagh said.

Police are asking anyone with information related to the case to call (240) 773-5070. Callers may remain anonymous.



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  • Esteban on November 8, 2008 at 11:48 PM
    Are people like Hernandez an inevitable part of society?
  • 44 on November 9, 2008 at 7:40 PM
    I would say yes to Esteban.

  • Dantes on November 10, 2008 at 5:50 PM
    Wrong.

    People like Hernandez are society.
  • Jon Cariba Phoenix on November 11, 2008 at 12:35 AM
    Both of you are wrong.

    Violence is never inevitable in a society, and saying that "people like Hernandez are society" is simply another example of what social psychologists call in-group favoritism and outgroup homogeneity ~ you assume that your "society" is better than the rest of "society" and that everyone who isn't in your group is all the same.

    The murder of Tai Lam was a tragedy, and the question here is why? Why did this happen? And I don't just mean individual causation. There is a tendency to focus so much on the individual that we ignore the situational or systemic causes of violence. And we ignore those other causes at our own peril.

    So should Hernandez be guilty, or should someone else be guilty for this, I'd like all of these to be flushed out into the open. In a quest for revenge, we should not let our reason be lost, nor in our quest to explain despair should we become despairing.
  • blazer on November 11, 2008 at 7:33 AM
    its annoying when people try to act really smart on silver chips
  • alumna3 (View Email) on November 11, 2008 at 11:20 PM
    @jon
    VIOLENCE IS INEVITABLE.
    Y? Bc society isnt equal.
    So long as there are have and have nots there will be liars, cheaters, theives, murderes, robbers, etc.
  • Jon Cariba Phoenix on November 13, 2008 at 1:03 AM
    There are a dozen or so non-violent societies and cultures, not to mention some religions that advocate non-violence, all across this world. What they have in common is that they emphasize cooperation instead of competition in how human beings relate to one another. Human beings are seen, and can very easily be seen as human, not as some type of objects that should be merely shoved aside in order to accomplish something. For nothing in society is ever inevitable. And that's because all societies are made by humans and thus can be changed by humans as well.
  • Amy (View Email) on March 22, 2009 at 10:11 AM
    Tai Lam did'nt deserve to die.
    theres no words that can explain what
    hernendez did alot of young kids are dieing over retarical reasons.Hernendez should just be left in jail for life to suffer.
  • jenny (View Email) on July 31, 2010 at 7:26 PM
    y wud ms13 peple shoot a young boy aka mi cousin... he was 14 yrs old...
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