The two teens accused of shooting a couple to death in their home outside Garner earlier this month may have been trying to kill a rival gang member instead, according to a search warrant made public Thursday.
Isrrael Vasquez, 16, and his 15-year-old nephew have been charged with murdering Jose and Maria Mendoza in their home at 708 Colonial Dr. just after midnight on Jan. 5.
Wake sheriff’s investigators think the pair may have been planning to shoot “David Gonzalez, his family or associates,” according to the warrant. Gonzalez is thought to have lived in the townhouse previously and is thought to be “high in rank” with one of two gangs that have had an ongoing dispute in southern Wake County, according to the warrant.
The warrant indicates that two weapons were used in the shooting – a .45-caliber handgun and an assault rifle.
Vasquez was charged as an adult and was scheduled to make his first court appearance today. His nephew, whose name was not released, is being handled as a juvenile.
They have been charged with murder, felony conspiracy, first-degree burglary and possession of stolen property. Vasquez, who lived at 165 Montiseno Drive south of Garner, also was charged with possessing a firearm with an obliterated serial number.
Harrison said there was no indication that the teens knew Jose Samuel Flores Mendoza and his wife, Maria Savaria Mendoza, before breaking into their townhome. The couple is survived by two children, ages 3 and 12.
The 3-year-old was in the townhouse at the time of the shooting, but was unharmed.
The Mendozas were both 34 and worked at the Golden Corral on Grenelle Street, just off Tryon Road in South Raleigh. Neighbors and coworkers described them as hardworking and friendly, and investigators found no evidence that they had any enemies.
“They were a Christian, hard-working couple who kept to themselves,” Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said Wednesday.
Investigators think the double-homicide may be related to a shooting at 5500 Meadowbrook Road, off Fayetteville Road near Garner, on Dec. 4. Two adults and two juveniles were charged with assault with a deadly weapon, assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury and felony conspiracy in connection with the shooting of a man there.
Investigators determined that David Gonzalez was present at the time of the shooting, according to the warrant.