PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - After nearly a year, two teens have been arrested for shooting and killing two coffee shop employees in Phoenix's Roosevelt District, police said.
Antonio Palafox-Zermeno and Castulo Cervantes were arrested on Monday morning.
The shooting happened around 3:30 a.m. on Oct. 5, 2018, just a few blocks from Jobot Coffee House, near Third Avenue and Roosevelt Street, where David Bessent and Zachary Walter worked.
[ORIGINAL STORY: Phoenix PD: 1 dead, 1 hospitalized in double shooting]
The pair had just closed up when it appears Palafox-Zermeno, who was 15 time at the time, and Cervantes, who was 14 at the time, tried to rob them, police said.
"They didn't cooperate," said Sgt. Tommy Thompson with the Phoenix Police Department.
That's when the two victims were shot.
Walter died shortly after the shooting. Bessent was taken to the hospital, but died a few days later.
"It's like losing a relative," said Jobot Coffee manager Joseph Hobson. "Gone but not forgotten."
Hobson called the news of the arrests bittersweet, saying he felt relief, but also was disheartened at how young the suspects are.
"You’ve got to wonder about the mistakes people make in their life and, unfortunately, they might not have a chance to fix their mistakes," Hobson said. "But it makes you realize how important it is that we’re all a community, helping each other, mentorship, making sure kids are being raised better these days."
Investigators haven't said what led them to the two boys.
Palafox-Zermeno and Cervantes were booked into jail on two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of attempted armed robbery and two counts of aggravated robbery.
The pair each have a bond set at $1 million.
"They were booked into jail as adults charged with crimes that a 14 and a 15-year-old shouldn't be involved in, no one should be involved in, let alone teenagers," said Thompson.
Thompson said the two teens had a simple motive.
"It is my understanding they were just looking to rob people," Thompson said.
Palafox-Zermeno goes to Carl Hayden High School.
"He's a good kid. It's just the friends that he hangs out with," said his mother, Maria Zermeno. "He said he was there at the wrong time doing things that he wasn’t supposed to be doing, but that he never would do it."
We learned Palafox-Zermeno has cut off an ankle monitor in the past.
"He was tired of the probation officer getting on top of him," Zermeno said of her son. "He was doing everything he's supposed to do."
We asked why he had the ankle monitor.
"Stealing," Zermeno said. "I'm not going to lie, stealing. But that was the only thing he was doing. He was not going to kill people like they're saying, because he didn’t do it."
Case not closed
Thompson said there are at least two other people connected to the case who are still on the run.
Police released video of the suspect vehicle in October 2018 about two weeks after the shooting.
Thompson said they are still looking for that white Dodge Durango.
Anyone with information is asked to call Silent Witness at either 480-WITNESS (948-6377) or 1-800-343-TIPS (8477). Spanish speakers may call 480-TESTIGO (837-8446). (Click or tap phone number to call from this story on your mobile device.) Callers can remain anonymous and could earn a reward of up to $1,000.
There is an event honoring Bessent's life on Friday, September 20th from 6-10pm at Gallery 119 on 119 S. 11st Avenue in Phoenix.