NEW PORT RICHEY — Authorities on Friday arrested a man in a gang-related murder committed nearly eight years ago.
New Port Richey police say James Andre Paulin's shooting death on Jan. 4, 2007, was a retaliation between rival gangs. Paulin, 30, was found dead just before midnight with a gunshot to his back outside a mint-green modular home on Celeste Lane. It was Pasco County's first homicide of that year.
Police said Friday that Latin Kings gang member Ramon Perez-Velez recruited and organized fellow gang members in seeking revenge for an attack on the son of one of their members by the Valentine Bloods.
Bloods member Paulin, nicknamed "Jap," was the target, though it's not clear he participated in the beating.
Paulin used to advertise himself as a one-man band from Queens, N.Y. At his last address on Royal Palm Drive in New Port Richey, a neighbor said the bass used to thump so thunderously that it sent her to the hospital with heart palpitations.
He'd previously been arrested on a charge of trespassing on a night when neighbors reported hearing a burst of gunfire from the vicinity of his house.
Police called Perez-Velez, 27, "the No. 1 ranking Latin King of the New Port Richey set." Nicknamed "King Blade" and "Satelete" (Sat-a-leet-ay), he was arrested Friday on a charge of second-degree murder.
Perez-Velez has been arrested three times since the murder, on warrants, violation of probation and marijuana possession charges.
At a news conference Friday, New Port Richey police Chief Kim Bogart said two detectives worked on the case on and off for a year. He would not go into detail about the leads they followed, saying other people were involved in the crime and the investigation is ongoing.
He said Perez-Velez was initially a primary suspect in the case, but it took years of investigation to get hard evidence pointing to him as the shooter. Gang activity in the area has decreased since 2007, Bogart said, in part because Perez-Velez moved away.
The leads eventually led to his house at 1162 Concord Ave. in Spring Hill, where Hernando County deputies arrested Perez-Velez on Friday afternoon.
"You don't just go from that life to all of a sudden you're a great neighbor and a good citizen," Bogart said. "We know we have to have a very solid case and get a conviction."