TUCSON, Ariz. — A male teen in Arizona was arrested after the fatal shooting of a man in front of the victim’s two young daughters, according to reports.
The Tucson Police Department has taken Gabriel Alejandro Pichardo, 16, into custody following the homicide. He is accused of first degree murder in the death of Andres Guillermo Franco, 23, authorities said.
Pichardo shot Franco in the parking lot of an apartment complex on the afternoon of Nov. 2. Responding officers arrived shortly after the gunfire occurred and found the victim clinging to life. As a result, he was rushed to nearby St. Joseph’s Hospital but did not survive, Tucson police said in a press statement, Law&Crime reported.
According to KOLD, the suspect fled on foot and was pursued by both a police K9 unit and the department’s airship. Although he was not immediately captured, the accused killer was taken into custody on Thursday.
“He was telling me ‘I love you,’ and then the next thing you know: He’s on the floor bleeding to death, and there was nothing I can do,” Franco’s girlfriend, Daniela Parks, told KVOA.
The victim was ruthlessly murdered the same day he was about to start a new job.
“I asked the person to stop because I had kids,” the distraught mother continued in a Wednesday interview. “He just ignored me, walked around, shot him twice more in the back and took off.”
Parks said the couple have two children together, both girls. Their daughters — 8 months old and 23 months old — were inside the family’s vehicle and just steps away from where their father was killed, Law&Crime reported.
“My little girl was crying for almost 48 hours non-stop,” the grieving mother told KVOA. “She cried herself to sleep. She cried when she woke up. She just stopped crying about a couple days ago.”
Witnesses at the apartment complex said a fight immediately preceded the deadly gunfire, KGUN reported. The source of the conflict remained unclear.
However, a GoFundMe page says there was no fight prior to the shooting.
“He was shot a total of six times with the last two bullets hitting his body as he jumped in front of his daughters to protect them,” organizer Vanessa Gonzalez wrote. “The news says there was an argument leading to the shooting however that’s not the case at all. He was in the apartment as his wife and daughters (almost 2 years old and 8 month old baby girl) waited for him in the car.. he was heading out to be dropped off at work and someone popped out and started shooting.”
Pichardo is currently being held at the Pima County Jail/Adult Detention Complex without bond.