Local News

December shooting probe led to arrests in Wake couple's deaths

Posted January 25, 2013 11:35 a.m. EST
Updated March 3, 2013 5:23 p.m. EST

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

— The arrests this week of two teens in the fatal shooting of a Wake County couple came as investigators were piecing together evidence from an unrelated shooting last month, according to search warrants made public Friday.

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.

Multiple shell casings from multiple firearms, later determined to be a .45-caliber handgun and an assault rifle, were also found in the home.

Isrrael Vasquez, 16, of 165 Montiseno Drive in 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 in the case. 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.

Two search warrants were issued on Jan. 15 authorizing searches of Vasquez's and the juvenile's homes in connection with a Dec. 4 shooting on Meadowbrook Road near Garner. According to the warrants, that shooting involved members of rival gangs, Sur13 and VDM.

Vasquez and the juvenile were known members of a local gang, and the girlfriend of a fellow gang member told investigators that one of them shot a VDM member during the Meadowbrook Road altercation, according to warrants. The juvenile's mother also told investigators that her son was out late that night and was dropped off at home by someone in a white Nissan pickup, which warrants state matched the description of the truck Sur13 members fled in after the shooting.

The search of the juvenile's home turned up a .357 Magnum revolver, a .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun, three 9-millimeter semiautomatic handguns and an M4 semi-automatic rifle, as well as several ammunition magazines, according to one warrant.

Investigators found an Egyptian-made AK-47 and a .45-caliber semi-automatic handgun hidden in the attic insulation at Vasquez's house, as well as a variety of ammunition, a second search warrant states.

A third search warrant issued Jan. 22 for another search of Vasquez's home states that the AK-47, which had been stolen in Johnston County, matched evidence taken from the Mendoza home. Neither of the .45-caliber handguns seized in the searches matched the one used in the Mendoza shootings, according to the warrant, so investigators wanted to search Vasquez's home again.

The second search turned up another .45-caliber handgun, a 12-gauge shotgun, two sets of brass knuckles, two knives and drug paraphernalia, according to the warrant. There was no indication whether that .45-caliber handgun matched the weapon in the Mendoza case.

A fourth search warrant, which was released Thursday, suggested that a man who lived in the Mendozas' home before they moved in might have been the target of the shooting. The man was a VDM member who was involved in the Meadowbrook Road altercation.