Michele McPhee is an investigative journalist, a screenwriter, and the author of seven true crime books. Her latest “Operation Mean Streets” about the Boston MS-13 case will be published by Berkley/Penguin Random House in 2020.
It was broad daylight in East Boston when a 16-year-old homeboy for MS-13, a high school freshman nicknamed Animal, spotted a 15-year-old boy in a red shirt. He smirked, pulled out a knife, and began running down Princeton Street, oblivious to the children and families all around him.
The victim, Irvin DePaz, felt Animal at his back and began darting through the crowded sidewalks trying to get away. He didn’t run fast enough. Animal caught up, the knife glistening at his side, and pounced on his slightly built adversary.
Without hesitation Animal began to slice away at the 15-year-old, who belonged to...