A doomed young couple found shot to death and burned beyond recognition in a car at a Bronx park were victims of a deadly gang war sparked by a stolen purse, law enforcement sources told The Post.
Nikki Huang and ex-college hoopster Jesse Parrilla, 22, were executed in a series of retaliatory shootings that erupted after Huang griped to her gangster pals that a rival crew mugged her last Sunday, stealing her handbag, the sources said Thursday.
Parrilla was not a part of deadly beef between the rival Up the Hill and the Down the Hill crews, the sources said — and only wound up getting mixed up in the bloodshed while spending time with Huang.
“Right now it looks like he was in the wrong place at the wrong time,” one Manhattan cop said. “He has no criminal record. It looks like he was just hanging out with Nikki.”
The ex-hoopster’s mother, Michelle Morales, who owned the car the pair was killed in, said her son knew Huang from middle school.
“He was a good-hearted person just helping a friend out with a ride,” she said through tears. “I don’t think he was aware of anything. He had no idea what was going on because he would never put himself in a situation like that.
“I’m so angry and devastated and hurt that my son was taken away from me just like that. The last words he said to me when I was finally able to talk to him was, ‘I love you.’”
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SOURCE: New York Post, Larry Celona, Georgett Roberts, Craig McCarthy and Jorge Fitz-Gibbon