Suspect in Wake County deputy beating pleads guilty

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Gabriel Moreno in court Monday (ABC11 Reporter Gloria Rodriguez)

One of the four suspects accused of beating a Wake County sheriff's deputy outside a child's birthday party in February has pleaded guilty to assault.

Gabriel Moreno pleaded guilty to one count of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury during a court appearance Monday morning.

"I'm sorry for what I did," he said. "I know I made a mistake. But I wish I could take it back but I can't."

Moreno apologized in court before Judge Graham Shirley sentenced him to 33-50 months in jail.

"It is the judgment of this court that the defendant is sentenced to a minimum of 33 months and a maximum of 52 months," he said.

Warrants allege Moreno asked the off-duty deputy to come outside the Panther Branch Community Center on Ten-Ten Road around 11:45 p.m. on Feb. 6th and when he did, Remi Nambo, Delfino Alejo, and Gabriel's brother Miguel jumped out from behind parked cars.

The four are accused of pinning the unarmed deputy on the ground, punching and kicking him so badly that Sheriff Donnie Harrison said his officer didn't have a chance to fight back.

Harrison said the men were yelling expletives at the deputy as they punched and kicked him and that they targeted him solely because he's a law enforcement officer.

"They describe that he had blood all over," the district attorney said in court Monday. "His shirt and his jacket were soaked in blood. He had noticeable abrasions to his face. A cut on his nose and a large lump on his forehead."

However the Morenos' sister, Alex, said shortly after the incident that prosecutors weren't telling the story the way it actually happened.

"I know how they are. I know what they are. I'm not gonna defend them - they're not victims here," Alex said of her brothers. "But they're just exaggerating. They're exaggerating. We know this person. We know the cop and there's a lot of things that he does that a cop does not do."

Moreno said she left the party before the deputy was beaten, but she believes alcohol played a role in what happened.

"I think something either party said - something that might have disagreed with the other crowd. I don't know," she said. "But yea, he was definitely not targeted - not because he's a cop."

In February, the DA said all four suspects are validated gang members.

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