Almonte, Accused of May Gang-Related Murder, Pleads Not Guilty at Arraignment

Booking photo

Eddy Almonte, seen here in his booking photo from Winchester, Va., returns to court Sept. 12.

The man accused of shooting 20-year-old Nike Colon in May pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Wednesday.

Twenty-seven-year-old Eddy Manuel Almonte was arraigned yesterday in Salem Superior Court on charges of first degree murder, carrying a firearm without a license and attempted assault and battery with a firearm. He was ordered held without bail and returns to court Sept. 12 for a pre-trial conference, according to Stephen F. O’Connell, spokesman for Essex County District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett.

Almonte is charged with pulling up to a white Dodge Ram pickup truck at the corner of Washington and Shepard Streets and firing at least four shots at Colon during the late afternoon of May 17. The 20-year-old, who was a passenger in the truck, was taken by the unidentified driver to a City Hall parking lot, then to a local hospital and finally to a Boston Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Assistant District Attorney Michael Dulany said exterior video surveillance footage from Riley’s Corner Market led police to identify Almonte as the triggerman.

“As the white truck leaves, Mr. Colon can be seen in the passenger side with his head slowly falling out of the window,” Dulany said, adding that a witness also identified Almonte as the driver.

As WHAV earlier reported, Almonte was among three arrested in 2016 and charged with what police suspected to be “gang-related retaliation” for a Swasey Field shooting in May of that year. He was later released when witnesses refused to cooperate. Two people survived gunshot wounds. WHAV’s subsequent special report connected a series of gun-related arrests over the last two years and found two rival gangs bearing responsibility for all or most of the shootings.

Almonte was arrested near the end of May during an unrelated motor vehicle stop in Winchester, Va. He was then charged with Colon’s murder and indicted by a grand jury June 28.