Teen, man arrested 10 months after 17-year-old boy killed outside El Mirage store

On Monday, officers spotted 18-year-old Emanuel Longoria Almanza and the teen driving in El Mirage and pulled them over. They were taken into custody.
Published: Jan. 17, 2023 at 8:57 PM MST|Updated: Jan. 18, 2023 at 4:28 PM MST
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EL MIRAGE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- Police say ongoing “beef” between teenagers led to a 16-year-old shooting and killing a 17-year-old last year in El Mirage, and the suspects involved in the crime have been found. A 16-year-old boy and 18-year-old Emanuel Longoria Almanza were taken into custody on Monday in connection to the 17-year-old’s death.

On March 24, investigators say the 17-year-old boy and a man drove to a shopping center near 99th Avenue and Thunderbird Road, parked and went inside a store to buy drinks. However, the 16-year-old suspect reportedly had a grudge against one of the victims and saw the two in the parking lot. Almanza dropped off the suspect, who was waiting for the two to leave the store, police said. As the 17-year-old boy and man left the store, the suspect went up to them and reportedly started shooting. The teen boy was shot and taken to the hospital, where he died. The man with the teen wasn’t hurt. Almanza and the other teen then sped off from the scene.

Court documents say the second victim told police that the teen boy had “beef” with some kids at his school that week. Investigators were able to get surveillance video from the shopping center. Police said the video shows the 16-year-old hiding until the two victims walk out of the store, then shoots at them as Almanza pulls up and drives away. Almanza and the teen then drove to Almanza’s house, which was only eight miles from where the shooting happened, court documents say.

On Monday, officers spotted Almanza, the teen and two others leaving the home near Thunderbird Road and Primrose Street, just off Grand Avenue. Court paperwork says Almanza ran a red light and was pulled over by police. Officers say the 16-year-old had a gun in his waistband, and officers found a shotgun cut in half in Almanza’s car. The two were arrested and booked into jail.

In an interview with police, Almanza reportedly told officers he uses drugs and can’t remember things when asked about the shooting. The 16-year-old suspect was also interviewed and told police he whistled at the victim to get his attention, then shot him when he turned around. Investigators said he shot the teen four times before his gun jammed and the bullets fell. The teen reportedly said he shot the victim because he “talked about his family and friends” and said the two fought at school when the victim he was hanging out with someone he didn’t like, court documents say. The suspect also reportedly claimed he tossed the gun into the desert and threw away the clothes he wore the night of the shooting. The 16-year-old also said he would have shot the second victim if his gun didn’t jam, police said. Court paperwork says he also added the victim “got what he deserved.”

Almanza was booked on one count of prohibited weapon possession and one count of facilitation to commit murder. Charges for the teen haven’t been released, and it’s unclear if he’ll be tried as an adult. The victim hasn’t been identified.