, Salem, MA

March 27, 2013

Police: Victim trying to buy marijuana when he was shot


---- — PEABODY — The victim of a January shooting told police that he just wanted to buy some marijuana. Instead, he was shot in the leg and robbed, police say.

Yesterday, the man accused of committing that shooting and robbery pleaded not guilty to charges that include assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, armed robbery, illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition, and discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a dwelling.

Aquiles Bernabe-Deleon, 21, of 255 Boston St., Lynn, is now being held on $25,000 bail, with an order that he have no contact with the victim or his girlfriend while the case is pending.

The charges stem from the Jan. 3 shooting, which took place inside an apartment at 197 Washington St., where John Leger, 27, and his girlfriend lived.

Leger told police that he had called a man he knew as “Cube,” looking to purchase some marijuana. “Cube” allegedly told Leger that he would send over his brother to sell him the drug.

But once there, police say, Bernabe-Deleon pulled a gun on Leger, shot him and robbed him of $450 in cash.

The victim’s girlfriend called 911, according to police.

Police later identified Bernabe-Deleon through their investigation, and Leger and his girlfriend both identified him in a photo array as the man who shot Leger.

Bernabe-Deleon is not the brother of “Cube.”

Leger was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital for treatment of a wound to his upper thigh but is now out of the hospital and recovering, police said.

Bernabe-Deleon was arrested Friday in Lynn on a warrant after police received information about his location. After an appearance in Lynn District Court on Monday in an unrelated case, he was brought to Peabody District Court yesterday to answer to the shooting charges.

A status hearing is scheduled for April 23.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.