Crime: Charges detail ‘horrific’ scene in shooting north of Stillwater; police searching for second suspect - PressFrom - US
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CrimeCharges detail ‘horrific’ scene in shooting north of Stillwater; police searching for second suspect

21:50  18 june  2019
21:50  18 june  2019 Source:   twincities.com

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Charges detail ‘horrific’ scene in shooting north of Stillwater; police searching for second suspect© Provided by MediaNews Group d/b/a Digital First Media Luis Alfredo Cortez Mendoza (left), Angel Sardina-Padilla.

The Uber driver had just dropped a customer at a house on Arcola Trail North, about three miles north of downtown Stillwater, and was headed back to town to pick up another rider when he spotted the woman lying in the middle of the dirt road.

The 39-year-old woman, who lives in St. Paul, had been shot twice in the chest. A large pool of blood surrounded her.

After almost a week in critical condition at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, she was finally able to tell authorities what happened. Her harrowing account of the events of June 9 included accusations of torture, drugging, kidnapping and attempted murder.

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Charges detail ‘horrific’ scene in shooting north of Stillwater; police searching for second suspect© Provided by MediaNews Group d/b/a Digital First Media Luis Alfredo Cortez Mendoza (Courtesy of Washington County sheriff’s office)

Two men, believed to be members of the Surenos 13 gang, have been charged in connection with the crimes; one remains at large.

Luis Alfredo Cortez Mendoza, 23, was arrested Saturday in Minneapolis by the Minneapolis Police Department. He appeared in Washington County District Court on Monday on charges of attempted first-degree murder for the benefit of a gang, attempted second-degree murder for the benefit of a gang and kidnapping for the benefit of a gang. Bail was set at $2 million.

A nationwide alert has been issued for Angel Ignacio Sardina-Padilla, 32, of Minneapolis, who faces the same charges, Assistant Washington County Attorney Siv Yurichuk said Tuesday.

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IT STARTED AFTER A GUN SALE

The woman told authorities she bought a $400 gun from Sardina-Padilla, but could only pay $300 and told him to collect the rest of the money later, according to the criminal complaint.

Charges detail ‘horrific’ scene in shooting north of Stillwater; police searching for second suspect© Provided by MediaNews Group d/b/a Digital First Media Angel Sardina-Padilla (Courtesy of state Department of Corrections)

The woman told police she placed the gun on her nightstand that night and when she woke up in the morning, it was gone. She texted Sardina-Padilla, explained the gun was missing, and he and Mendoza showed up at her apartment in the 700 block of East Geranium Avenue “armed with guns and demanded the money she owed or that the gun be found and returned,” the complaint states.

The men then heated a metal tool over an open flame on the stove and threatened the woman and two others in the apartment. The woman refused to hold the scalding tool and was forced to leave with the men. She was put in the back of a light-blue Audi TT and driven around for the rest of the day and night. She said she was given a pill that made her fall asleep and when she woke up, Mendoza told her it was time to get out and pointed a gun at her, according to the complaint.

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“Mendoza stood a car’s length away and shot at the victim three times, striking her in the chest,” the complaint states. “(He) jumped in his car and fled the area.”

‘I COULD FEEL THE BLOOD BUILDING’

The woman was shot twice in the chest, according to KSTP-TV.

“When he shot me the first time, I didn’t fall,” the woman told the television station. “And then there was another shot, it was very quick. But I could feel the blood building …I could feel it. I could feel my lungs and everything, filling with blood.”

The woman told KSTP that she lost half a lung and that bullet fragments are still inside her body.

“It is horrific,” Yurichuk said. “It’s pretty unusual for something like this to happen here.”

SHOOTING NOT RELATED TO EARLIER CASE

The shooting happened a week after the body of Jose Natividad Genis Cuate, 47, of Minneapolis, was found in a wetland area about 10 miles northwest of where the woman’s body was found. Cuate died as a result of homicide, officials said.

His body was found June 2 on a Sunday afternoon in the 17600 block of Manning Trail by a man who lives near the area. He discovered the body near a culvert while driving home from a graduation open house.

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Investigators do not believe the two crimes are related.

“It is strange, yes, that in a week’s time we have two violent cases,” Yurichuk said. “Part of our county is rural and it’s wooded and, I guess, to people from the city, it probably appears to be a rural place to dump people. I don’t know why they came here and didn’t go to other parts of the state.”

UBER DRIVER ‘EXTRAORDINARILY COURAGEOUS’

According to the criminal complaint, the Uber driver told investigators he initially thought the woman was a “dead animal” in the road. He said he realized his mistake when he saw her raise her head.

He parked his car, and then asked if she needed help. When she screamed she had been shot, he tried to call 911, but he couldn’t get a cellphone signal, the complaint states. He then picked her up, wrapped her in a blanket and put her in the back of his car and began to drive south to downtown Stillwater.

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When he got within cellphone range, he reached 911 and was told by a dispatcher to park and turn on his hazard lights until authorities arrived.

The Uber driver’s actions “were extraordinarily courageous” and saved the woman’s life, Yurichuk said.

“He’s an angel, and he has to know that,” the woman told KSTP.

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