DALLAS – Two suspects have been arrested and face capital murder charges in Dallas after four people were shot and killed at an apartment complex Sunday night, police said. One of the suspects reportedly had a contentious custody dispute with one of the victims. A baby was found unharmed inside the apartment where the murders occurred.
Police identified the suspects as 18-year-old Artemio Maldonado and 20-year-old Azucena Sanchez. They were located returning to a parked suspect vehicle nearby and subsequently taken into custody. A handgun was found at the time of arrest. Law enforcement authorities said Sanchez confessed to the crimes, NBC DFW reported.
Officers in northwest Dallas responded to the Arlo apartment community in the 3500 block of Villaverde Avenue shortly after 7 p.m. on Sunday regarding the shooting. Upon arrival, officers discovered four people had been fatally shot at the complex, police said. The victims included two men and two women.
“Family members, loved ones had gone [to the apartment] when they hadn’t heard from the victims throughout the day and located the victims inside the apartment and that’s when we were called,” said spokesperson Kristin Lowman of the Dallas Police Department.
Although Dallas Police said they do not have any record of 911 calls earlier in the day, neighbors reported hearing gunshots after 1 a.m. Sunday, NBC DFW reported.
“I woke up and went to my mom’s room and asked her and she was like that was not banging that was gunshots outside,” said Michell Soriano who lives above the apartment where the homicides occurred.
Both she and her mother believed the gunfire took place outside, far away from their unit. However, they later learned it transpired at their neighbor’s apartment.
“If you hear something, if something is out of the ordinary possibly in your neighborhood you know your neighborhood best, reach out to us, call us. It may end up being nothing, but we would rather get that phone call, make that check and make sure that everything is safe,” said Lowman.
Neighbors said the murdered men were brothers and the two women were their spouses. An infant inside the apartment was not harmed. The identities of the victims have not yet been released by the medical examiner’s office.
Family members discovered the horrifying crime scene after checking on the victims when they didn’t answer their phones. They provided DPD the name of a possible suspect in the shooting and identified his vehicle, NBC DFW reported, citing an arrest warrant affidavit.
A short time later, a vehicle matching that description was found parked in the 2700 block of Northhaven Road. About 10:00 p.m. a man and woman — later identified as Artemio Maldonado and Azucena Sanchez — approached the vehicle and officers made the arrest. Investigators located a Glock handgun inside the automobile, sitting in plain site, police said.
During an interview with investigators, Sanchez acknowledged her role in the murders by saying she and Maldonado went to the apartment looking for money. They entered the residence through a rear window when they thought no one was home, court documents revealed.
Once the pair was inside, Sanchez said they were confronted by the residents. Maldonado was armed with the weapon and shot all four. They proceeded to steal a box from a closet they thought had money inside and fled the apartment out the front door. However, the stolen box was empty, according to the affidavit.
Sanchez is the former girlfriend of one of the victims. She was involved in a contentious custody dispute over their son, according to court documents. It’s not immediately clear if their son is the same child present and left unharmed during the murders.
Maldonado and Sanchez were each booked at the Dallas County Jail on charges of capital murder of multiple persons.