PD: Suspects tried to kill potential witness

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From left: Javier Aguayo, Ricco S. Monge and Jeremie Villaverde By Jennifer Thomas From left: Javier Aguayo, Ricco S. Monge and Jeremie Villaverde By Jennifer Thomas
Javier Aguayo By Jennifer Thomas Javier Aguayo By Jennifer Thomas
Ricco S. Monge By Jennifer Thomas Ricco S. Monge By Jennifer Thomas
Police are still searching for Jeremie Villaverde. By Jennifer Thomas Police are still searching for Jeremie Villaverde. By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- Phoenix police have arrested two suspects and are looking for a third in the shooting of a woman as she was leaving for work last month.

Police originally believed the shooting was a random crime, but now investigators allege that the three suspects planned to kill the victim to keep her from testifying in court.

Detectives learned that several months before the shooting, the woman was the victim of an aggravated assault. When driving with her boyfriend and young child, a man in a car pointed a gun at her.

That suspect was later identified as Javier Aguayo. He was arrested then released until his court date. The woman was scheduled to testify against Aguayo.

Investigators said the woman's shooting was a calculated attempt to take her life.

"The design of this was actually to commit homicide, we believe because Aguayo found out that if convicted on the original aggravated assault, he was looking at 5 to 15 years in prison," said Sgt. Tommy Thompson.


Police have arrested Aguayo and Ricco S. Monge, both 19 years old, for the woman's shooting. Police are still searching for Jeremie Villaverde, 20, who has a felony warrant for probation violations.

Police said the 23-year-old woman was getting into her Mazda sedan at her home near 35th Avenue and Union Hills Drive on Feb. 16 when a masked man carrying a gun walked toward her car and opened fire.

"She was hit at least five times, and some of these wounds - it's nothing short of miraculous she is still alive," Sgt. Thompson said.

 

 

After the shooting, the male got into the rear passenger seat of a small, silver four-door vehicle and the car fled the scene. There were said to be three other males in the vehicle and all were wearing ski masks. 

Police said Monge and Villaverde remained in the vehicle with Villaverde driving while Aguayo shot the victim. A fourth suspect has not been identified.

Police found the victim in her car a short distance away. She had been shot multiple times in the back, chest and shoulder and is recovering from her injuries.

A surveillance camera mounted on a home just north of the victim's residence captured a digital image of the suspects' vehicle, according to police spokesman Officer James Holmes. Witnesses told police that they had seen that same vehicle occupied by Hispanic males multiple times in the area during the previous five months.   

Investigators were able to locate the vehicle and seized several weapons and other evidence.

Anyone with information about this case or Villaverde's whereabouts is asked to call the Phoenix Police Department.