Portillo Convicted in 2011 Central Avenue Slaying

A self-proclaimed member of the MS-13 street gang was convicted last week of second-degree murder in the unprovoked shooting death of 38-year-old Braulio Gomez in the summer of 2011.

Jurors deliberated for just over two days before finding Santos Portillo, 22, of Chelsea, guilty of murder in the second degree and illegal firearm possession.

“This result would not have been possible without the witnesses who spoke to investigators, testified in the grand jury, and took the stand at trial,” Conley said. “I want to commend them.  But I also want to commend the Chelsea Police detectives and State Police troopers who built the rapport with those witnesses. This is an example of great work by police and civilians alike.”

During about two weeks of testimony, Assistant District Attorney Amy Galatis of Conley’s Homicide Unit proved that around 2:20 a.m. on July 16, 2011, Portillo approached a group of men socializing on the porch of a Central Avenue residence.

The evidence showed that Portillo asked the men what “set” – or gang – they were affiliated with. Gomez, a Chelsea resident, told Portillo that none of the men belonged to a gang. Portillo, who identified himself to the group as a member of MS-13, pulled out a handgun, placed it to Gomez’ head, and shot the unarmed man.

Gomez was transported to Whidden Memorial Hospital in Everett and pronounced dead of his injury.

Portillo was identified from a photo array by multiple witnesses. He was apprehended on Sept. 15, 2011, outside Columbus, Ohio, where he fled after the fatal shooting. The case was investigated by Chelsea Police and State Police homicide detectives assigned to the Suffolk DA’s office, who have jurisdiction over death investigations in Chelsea, Revere, Winthrop, and state property within the City of Boston.

Michael Schultz was the DA’s assigned victim-witness advocate.  Portillo was represented by Scott Curtis. He will be sentenced to the mandatory term for second-degree murder, life in prison with the possibility of parole after 15 years.

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