Friday, November 17, 2006

Suspects Arrested

Gilbert police arrest 2 in robbery-slaying

Elias C. Arnold
The Arizona Republic
Nov. 17, 2006 12:00 AM

GILBERT - Police announced Thursday the arrest of man and a teenager in connection with a fatal shooting and robbery last week in Gilbert.

Bradley Jerome Hughes, 18, and Arturo Miguel Rodriguez, 17, were arrested Wednesday when police served search warrants at their residences, in Chandler, near Alma School Road and Galveston Street, and Phoenix, respectively, police said.

Sgt. Andrew Duncan, a Gilbert police spokesman, said the two have a "high potential" for violence, though both were arrested with "minimal" force. Both suspects are thought to have ties to local street gangs, though the motive, Duncan said, is thought to be robbery.

"This was a crime spree these two suspects embarked on when they came into Gilbert," Duncan said, adding the department devoted considerable resources to the case because of the risk to the community.

A 15-year-old boy was also robbed moments before police say the suspects went after Scott Michael Kraft of Chandler.

Hughes and Rodriguez each face one count of first-degree murder, two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of kidnapping.

The 26-year-old victim was walking Nov. 7 near Warner Road and Cancun Drive shortly before 8 p.m. when a vehicle with headlights off approached him. Three people got out of the car, according to Gilbert police.

A shooter fired at Kraft when he turned to run, and the group searched his pockets as he lay on the ground, still alive, police said.

Kraft died at Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn.

Duncan said they have not determined whether Hughes or Rodriguez may have been the shooter and added the department thinks a third person may have been involved and is still at large.

The beige 1988 Acura Legend used in the crimes also has not been located, he said.

At a community meeting Monday, Gilbert and Chandler residents sought answers for the motivations in the case, asking police whether the crimes were gang-related, a hate crime, or were connected to other recent shootings.

Duncan said they had no knowledge of either teen having a criminal record.

"They were unknown to us (for) the most part," he said.

Still, police said they think their investigation over the last nine days lead them in the right direction.

"We are confident these are the suspects that have committed these crimes," Duncan said.


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