Police Say Former College Basketball Player Unknowingly Dragged Into Turf War

Nikki Huang and Jesse Parrilla
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Jessica Powers

A former college basketball player and his friend were found murdered in a burned-out car in the Bronx after police said they got swept up in gang violence.

Young Couple Found Dead In Burnt Out Car

Jesse Parrilla, 22, was found murdered with his friend Nikki Huang. Sources told CBSNews that they had been shot, and the car was set on fire.

Police sources say Parrilla was unknowingly swept up in a series of gang-related attacks.

Gang Violence Triggered The Deadly Attack

gang violence sparks the murders
Unsplash | Nathan Costa

Police sources told CBS News that Huang had no criminal record but that she did have an affiliation with a gang. They say she was robbed last Sunday and told some of her gang-member friends, triggering tit-for-tat gang-related violence.

There was a deadly shooting in Alphabet City, followed by two people shot on Pike Street on the Lower East Side, then another shooting in Queens, and finally, Parrilla and Huang were shot.

Police have not yet made any arrests, and the investigation remains active.

A Mother Seeks Justice For Her Son

The family is left grieving
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Sources say that Parrilla, of the Lower East Side, did not have any criminal record and was unknowingly dragged into the violence.

Parrilla's mother, Michelle Morales, took to Facebook to share her grief. She wrote, "I'm feeling destroyed. Life is not the same without you. I will never be the person I was before losing my only child. My shining star, that person is gone. A huge piece of me left with him. You didn't deserve this papi."

She also wrote, "Help me get justice for my boy. He didn't deserve this, and everyone that knew him best knows he didn't deserve this."

Parrilla Remembered As Dedicated Basketball Player

High school basketball court.
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Parrilla played basketball for one year at Genesee Community College and was well known for his love of basketball.

A spokesman for Genesee Community College said in an email to FOX 5 News: "We at GCC are saddened to learn of the tragic and untimely passing of Jesse Parrilla. During his time on campus in 2018-19, Jesse was an energetic and well-liked student who made his mark in many areas, including as a member of our men's basketball team. Beyond his initial time on campus, Jesse continued his academic pursuits at GCC as an online student as recently as Spring 2021. Jesse is dearly missed by the GCC community, and we extend our deepest sympathies to his family and friends."