Police Believe Double Shooting was Racially Motivated | News
LAS VEGAS -- A random and brutal murder at Lake Mohave is now being called a hate crime and the man accused of pulling the trigger is still on the loose.
8 News NOW has learned exclusive new details about the suspect, the murder, and the victims.
Police initially thought the double shooting that left one woman dead and a man paralyzed was a slam-dunk case. They had a good physical description of the suspect, a sketch, and two witnesses. However, three weeks after the murder, they have few leads and are asking for the public's help.
The peaceful sounds of Six Mile Cove at Lake Mohave turned into screams of horror and cries for help on the night of Oct. 24.
"He went for the shot that would definitely kill," Metro Detective Marty Wildemann said.
Witnesses told police the white male suspect arrived in a tan Jeep Grand Cherokee at 10 a.m. He was dressed in a yellow button down shirt, jeans and tan work boots. The suspect sat outside watching a Hispanic couple comb the beach with metal detectors.
At dusk, police say, the man approached the couple and yelled an obscenity at them and fired several shots at point blank range.
Forty-two-year-old Rosa Castrejon died immediately but her boyfriend Leopoldo Cardenas was struck in the back. He cried out for help but no one came. His nightmare wasn't over. In the middle of the night, coyotes circled the couple for hours. Cardenas was able to scare the animals away and wait until he would be discovered the next morning.
"He's doing okay. He's lost the use of his legs so he's pretty devastated by that," Wildemann said.
As soon as Metro homicide detectives arrived at the beach, they suspected it was a hate crime motivated by race and knew they were facing a challenge.
"We knew right away, if this was hate or thrill, we're in trouble because they're hard to solve because usually people have a nexus to people that they kill," Wildemann said.
Even if it is random, detectives believe the suspect could be tied to other crimes.
"This is an extreme measure to take, I mean these two people, two victims it's a brutal attack, it was deliberate and he definitely intended to harm significantly, so it's crossed our minds this is not the first time this has happened," the detective added.
Cardenas survived the attack but was left a paraplegic.
The suspect is described as a white male in his mid-forties, six-foot-four and around 210 pounds. He has a muscular build with short brown hair and a salt and pepper goatee.
If you have any information on this man or his whereabouts, you're asked to call Metro's Homicide Department at 828-3521.