Local News

Warrant: Gang member likely target of double-fatal shooting

Posted January 24, 2013
Updated March 3, 2013

Jose Samual Flores Mendoza, left, and his wife, Maria Saravia Mendoza, both 34, were fatally shot inside their home on Jan. 5, 2013.

— A search warrant made public Thursday in the fatal shooting of a Wake County couple suggests that a man who previously lived in their home and who investigators say is a high-ranking gang member might have been the target.

The bodies of Jose Samual Flores Mendoza and his wife, Maria Saravia Mendoza, both 34, were found around 12:30 a.m. Jan. 5 at their home at 708 Colonial Drive, near Garner, after a neighbor called 911 when she heard loud noises.

According to the search warrant, issued Jan. 6 and returned Thursday morning, investigators discovered that the man who lived in the home prior to the Mendozas moving in was associated with the victim of a Dec. 4 shooting on Meadowbrook Road, near Garner, in which a man had been shot in the ankle.

The victim and others involved in the December shooting, according to the warrant, are affiliated with known gangs, and one of them stayed with a woman who lived at 708 Colonial Drive.

The search warrant was issued to obtain data from three cellphones seized in the December shooting that investigators believed could help them solve the Mendozas' shooting deaths.

According to the warrant, investigators found the couple dead from gunshot wounds, but their 3-year-old son, who also was in the home, was unharmed. Multiple shell casings from multiple firearms, later determined to be a .45-caliber handgun and an assault rifle, were also found in the home.

Court documents relating to the arrest of Isrrael Vasquez, 16, one of two teenagers charged in the case, indicate that investigators found on Jan. 15 a firearm at his home that was used in the killings.

Isrrael Vasquez Warrant: Gang member likely target of fatal shootings

Vasquez, of 165 Montiseno Drive, Raleigh, and his 15-year-old nephew, are each charged with two counts of murder, two counts of felony conspiracy, first-degree burglary and possession of stolen property. Vasquez faces an additional charge of possessing a firearm with an altered or obliterated serial number.

The 15-year-old's name has not been released because he is a juvenile.

Those who know the two teens say the arrests come as a shock.

Gerri Deutsch said they are friends with her son and go to school together.

"Anybody is capable of doing anything, but had I expected it or seen it coming?" she said. "No, not at all."

Investigators say the Mendozas also had a 12-year-old son who was not home at the time of the crime. The children are now in the care of relatives, who could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Friends and employees who worked with the couple at Golden Corral in south Raleigh, however, said they were both shocked and relieved that investigators had made arrests in the case.

"It was almost like a sense of joy but also a sense of sadness," said manager Scott Schaberg, a spokesman for the restaurant. "Nothing is going to bring them back."

The restaurant, Schaberg said, has raised more than $15,000 to help pay for the Mendozas' funeral expenses as well as to help care for their children.

Chaz Webb worked with the couple for three years.

"Maria was a very caring lady. She would do anything for anybody. She always had a smile on her face," Webb said. "(Jose) always had a smile on his face, as well, so they made a perfect couple."


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  • Force_One Jan 25, 2013

    Obama needs to declare a war on gangs instead of a war on gun rights the latter which would only affect those who abide by the law.

    I do agree with cracking down harshly on gun trafficking as well as background checks for private sales. Especially after hearing one Chicago police chief talk about 40% of the guns he sees were bought legally and then sold privately to a gang member or criminal.

    There should also be a gun felon list much like a child molestor list.

    I think there should be a domestic terrorism class of laws with the funding an resources to go after organized domestic terrorists. (gangs)

  • SaltyOldJarhead Jan 25, 2013

    Kaka/Spin alert - no one can tell, from a spent shell casing, that it was fired from an "assault rifle".

  • isaacewallace Jan 25, 2013

    All these criminals should be tried as adults no matter what their age and they should receive the absolute maximum sentence,No Bail No Parole.

  • jackal10782 Jan 24, 2013

    The murders are "boys." A man doesn't run into a house and shoot someone. A man doesn't need a gun to settle his differences. He only needs a gun to deal with "boys" who are not mature enough to settle their differences without violence.

  • signify6644 Jan 24, 2013

    Mexico is just sending all the gang violence Americans don't want to do themselves.

  • apocalyptoconquistador Jan 24, 2013

    DEMAND Obama, Holder and NC AG Cooper enforce our immigration Laws.

  • airbornemonty Jan 24, 2013

    Once again I read that two young men have crossed the line into manhood and since that is the case, they should be prosecuted like any adult person would be which might include the death penalty.

    But will that happen, I seriously doubt it, not in the North Carolina court system.

  • country jewel Jan 24, 2013

    the media should refer to them as 'punks' not 'gangs.' That's all they are. May the next punk that breaks into a home be greeted with a loud bang.

  • Ex-Republican Jan 24, 2013

    Gangs! That's the first place law enforcement really needs to come down on if we want to sharply reduce gun violence. As tragic as the recent mass shootings have been, our schools are still the safest place. Yes, we need to prevent the mentally ill from getting firearms. This is the second priority. The last thing we should be doing is restricting gun ownership of upstanding citizens who go to work everyday, pay their bills and taxes and generally contribute to the well being of society.

  • Terkel Jan 24, 2013

    Well, well, well. It looks like realtors will have to start disclosing the gang affiliation of previous owners, just as they have to disclose a murder committed on the premises.