Police in Minnesota have arrested a second suspect in the abduction and attempted murder of a woman who an Uber driver reportedly found shot on a dark road last week.
The Star Tribune reported that Luis Alfredo Cortez Mendoza, 23, was criminally charged Monday in Washington County for shooting a 39-year-old woman who was hospitalized in critical condition. The woman alleged that she was shot following a gun sale gone wrong.
The Uber driver who discovered the victim claimed he was driving in May Township at 2:33 a.m. on June 9 when he saw what he thought was a dead animal in the road. He said he drove closer and realized it was a wounded woman when she lifted her head, according to the news outlet.
The Twin Cities Pioneer Press reported that the victim was shot twice in the chest. The Uber driver who discovered her reportedly wrapped her up in a blanket, placed her in the back of his vehicle, and drove to a location where he had a cellphone signal to call 911.
After undergoing surgery, the victim told KTSP that she lost half a lung and still have bullet fragments in her body from the near-fatal shooting.
A second suspect, Angel Ignacio Sardina-Padilla, 31, was arrested Tuesday and charged with aiding and abetting attempted murder and kidnapping. Reports indicated that a third suspect remains at large.
Police said the woman revealed that she purchased a gun from Sardina-Padilla for $400 but she only had $300 so she told him to return to her St. Paul residence later. The woman claimed she placed the gun in her nightstand while her roommate and her roommate’s boyfriend were home before she went to sleep, according to KTSP.
According to the criminal complaint, the woman said she awoke to find that the gun was missing, prompting her to text Sardina-Padilla the morning of June 8 and inform him of the weapon’s disappearance. Shortly thereafter, Sardina-Padilla and Mendoza allegedly came to the home with guns and demanded she pay the remaining balance or provide the gun.
The pair allegedly held the woman, her roommate, and three other people captive for several hours before Sardina-Padilla ordered Mendoza to leave with the woman.
KSTP reported that the victim was held hostage in the car with the two suspects into the evening. The victim recalled being given a pill that made her fall asleep. She claimed she woke up to Mendoza telling her to exit the vehicle before he fired at her three times as she stood outside several yards away.
Police were reportedly able to identify the two suspects through witness statements and accessing public records. Mendoza reportedly admitted that he and Sardina-Padilla were both members of Surenos 13 and claimed Sardina-Padilla provided him a gun and ordered him to kill the victim. KSTP reported that Sardina-Padilla and gang then branded Mendoza with a tattoo of “13.”
An Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) spokesperson revealed to the Star Tribune that they believe Mendoza is in the country illegally. The spokesperson said he’s been deported to Mexico four times previously and that the agency has placed an immigration hold on him following his arrest on Saturday. He remains jailed on $2 million bail.
[Featured image: Luis Alfredo Cortez Mendoza/Washington County Sheriff’s Office; Angel Sardina-Padilla/State Department of Corrections]