Case of cold-blooded killing at convenience store becomes family affair

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by Natalie Rivers

azfamily.com

Posted on February 25, 2010 at 5:28 PM

Updated Thursday, Feb 25 at 6:16 PM

PHOENIX - Phoenix police arrested the family of a man wanted in connection with a weekend murder in hopes of getting to the suspected killer.

Police still have not found Manuel Salazar III who is the suspect in the killing of a husband and beating of a wife outside a Circle K, but earlier today they arrested Salazar's father Manuel Salazar-Ochoa, 44, and his mother, Carlotta Retana, 49.

Police also arrested Salazar's sister Claudia Salazar, 21, and girlfriend Courtney Stephens, 17.

Stephens is an alleged female accomplice from Tempe accused of harboring Salazar the night of the crime. Police allege she knew Salazar had committed the crime.

The 20-year-old suspect has a police record and is a documented gang member.

Police say Salazar tried to steal two 30-packs of beer from the Circle K near 43rd Avenue and McDowell Road Friday night.

Lance Taylor, 23, tried the stop him. Taylor, along with his wife and mother, was visiting a friend who worked at the convenience store.

Taylor reportedly convinced Salazar to return the beer. After putting the alcohol back, however, police said Salazar pulled out a gun and began threatening people.

Salazar reportedly attacked Taylor’s wife, hitting her in the head with the butt of the gun. Taylor stepped in to defend his wife and was shot in the stomach.

Taylor was rushed to St. Joseph’s Hospital where doctors pronounced him dead.

Each of the family members are being charged with hindering prosecution in the first degree. Stephens also faced hindering prosecution charges.

If you have any information that could lead to the arrest of Manuel Salazar III, you are urged to contact Phoenix police.

Silent Witness is offering a reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the suspect. If you have any information about Friday night’s deadly shooting, you’re urged to call 480-WITNESS or 480-TESTIGO.

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