Local News

Dozens of shell casings found in home where couple was killed

Posted January 31, 2013
Updated March 3, 2013

— Crime scene investigators recovered 40 spent shell casings and several bullet fragments from the home of a Wake County couple who was found inside shot to death earlier this month, according to a new search warrant in the case.

The bodies of Jose Samual Flores Mendoza and his wife, Maria Saravia Mendoza, both 34, were found Jan. 5 at their home at 708 Colonial Drive, near Garner, after a neighbor called 911 when she heard loud noises.

A Jan. 5 search warrant released Wednesday indicates that Maria Mendoza was found on the kitchen floor, while her husband was found on the couch.

Throughout the home were shell casings from both a handgun and assault rifle that other court documents say were linked to a Dec. 4 shooting on Meadowbrook Road in Wake County.

Shell casings from both a handgun and assault rifle were found in several rooms throughout the house. Other court documents indicate they were linked to a Dec. 4 shooting on Meadowbrook Road, about a mile away from where the Mendozas lived.

Witnesses also reported seeing a red or maroon minivan fleeing the home immediately after the gunshots, according to the warrant.

Investigators have not offered a motive for the shootings, only saying that they were not random and that the couple did not know their attackers.

But search warrants suggest the Mendozas were unintended targets in a gang war between two rival gangs and that a man who lived in the Mendozas' home before they moved in might have been the actual target.

Isrrael Vasquez, 16, of 165 Montiseno Drive, Raleigh, and his 15-year-old nephew, a juvenile, face numerous charges in connection with the Mendozas' deaths.

Vasquez and the juvenile are known members of one of the gangs, and the girlfriend of a fellow gang member told investigators that one of the two shot a rival gang member during the Dec. 4 Meadowbrook Road altercation, according to warrants.

The girlfriend, Gemby Itzamar Estrada, was arrested Jan. 16, after deputies investigating the Mendozas' deaths found her in possession of an assault rifle.

Investigators, however, have not linked her to the murders.

10 Comments

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  • rocket Feb 1, 3:41 p.m.

    And some people wonder why a person would ever want a gun that holds more than ten rounds.

  • michaelclay Feb 1, 1:54 p.m.

    aspenstreet1717, where the couple was killed is correct. The word couple is singular meaning one couple. If you were to state where the two or where they, then you would use were.

  • aspenstreet1717 Feb 1, 12:48 p.m.

    Should it not be 'where couple were killed'.??

  • jscott13 Feb 1, 11:35 a.m.

    It's never old news when people are shot...especially by 15 and 16 year olds!!!! The more attention that is placed on these types of situations, the more that everyone will be forced to evaluate these tragedies which are happening day after day.

  • Gork Feb 1, 11:20 a.m.

    No, sorry "reel4fun" or whatever, an actual assault rifle was recovered in another arrest and linked to these murders - keep up... No vast left wing conspiracy here, just the facts...

  • haleibc Feb 1, 11:08 a.m.

    Were they just found or is this just wrals way of dragging the story on and on. Seams to be old news.

  • lazyrebel Feb 1, 11:01 a.m.

    This has to be drug related.

  • jervin6 Feb 1, 10:19 a.m.

    Generally speaking the shell casings and bullet fragments would give a good indication of what kind of weapon was used even if none was found at the scene. Although I think calling one semi-auto rifle a weapon of mass desruction only serves to vilify the gun, I believe the rifle that was recovered in the girlfriends home had the serial numbers destroyed which would most likely mean it was stolen and certainly not registered. To my knowledge currently, you do not have to register a long rifle unless it is a class 3 fully auto, but it is illegal to remove serial numbers.

  • submoa Feb 1, 9:48 a.m.

    @reel4fun

    In this case Gemby Itzamar Estrada was arrested and charged with possession of a weapon of mass destruction. This is generally the charge one receives for an unregistered SBR or fully automatic machine gun. That gun was matched to this case. In this case I think a real assault rifle was actual used.

  • reel4fun Feb 1, 9:15 a.m.

    Really.... no weapon was found but they say it was an assault weapon.....way to promote your vision WRAL.....with untruths and fear.