ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - A father and son were arrested in connection with the murder of an eight-year-old girl . It was a tense SWAT standoff that ended with the murder suspect being checked out by medical staff. His son was arrested overnight for conspiracy and tampering with evidence.
Police believe the father and son suspects didn't even know the victim or her family before all of this happened, but did run into them outside the community center moments before the shooting that killed Sunni Reza.
"I was sleeping and all we heard was boom! It woke us up," said Joseph Lovato on Sunday, outside of the SWAT situation in the South Valley.
Since early Sunday morning, police were using flash bangs, P.A. announcements, they sent in a robot, doing everything they could to try and capture their prime murder suspect for the murder of eight-year-old Sunni Reza.
Eventually, 44-year-old David Candelaria Sr. was taken out in a stretcher after being bit by a K-9. "He still wasn't located until we sent our officers in which is obviously the most dangerous method that we can use, and a last resort that we did at the end of this lengthy standoff," explained officer Tasia Martinez, of the Albuquerque Police Department.
Candelaria Sr. is charged with murder, while his son, David Candelaria Jr. was arrested in the early morning hours Sunday in northwest Albuquerque, and charged with conspiracy and tampering with evidence.
Police said they were the two men seen on surveillance photos from a Subway restaurant just after the shooting Friday, shown buying sodas.
Detectives believe it was Candelaria Sr. who shot and killed Reza after an argument escalated between the suspects and the men the girl was with near the Alamosa Community Center Friday. "At this point it doesn't appear that they had any previous acquaintance, but it does appear as though an altercation took place between the two groups and the young girl was involved in the mix, brought into the situation there," explained Martinez.
Police believe Candelaria Sr. fired a gun at the car Reza was in after she, her dad, uncle, and another man left the community center after playing basketball.
Reza was the only hit, and died a short time later. She would have celebrated her ninth birthday on Sunday.
Police said they've been working around the clock since the shooting, working to capture her killer. The investigation led them to a house near Don Felipe and Warren Lane in the South Valley Sunday. Investigators believe the home belonged to a relative of Candelaria Sr.
After several hours of hiding from police, police got Candelaria Sr. out of the house. "We're very relieved that we're able to get this individual off the streets today but obviously know that that's only some small reprieve to the loss of a child that this family has experienced," Martinez said Sunday.
Although they have their main suspect alive, detectives still want to talk to the other two men seen in surveillance Friday, who also may have been involved. The two are seen on surveillance outside a Subway shop after the shooting on Old Coors.
Before Candelaria Sr. was found inside the house, detectives said cameras showed what appeared to be a suicide attempt in the garage with a hose pulled from a car engine.
Detectives said they believe they found the murder weapon, a handgun, in a field near the scene of the shooting Friday. Police said Candelaria Sr. was checked out by medical personnel, then they'll interview him.
Four and a half years after he went to prison, former state senate leader Manny Aragon is out.
A suspected meth kingpin the FBI thought might be hiding out in New Mexico has been captured.
The popular Capulin Snow Play Area near Sandia Peak will be closed for the second year in a row.
While the roads were looking clearer late Thursday afternoon in the Albuquerque area, they could get dangerous again as temperatures drop later in the evening.
New details were released Thursday in Albuquerque's latest police shooting.
The southeast part of the state is getting hit hard with winter weather.