$1K reward, 2nd murder warrant issued for man wanted in shooting death of mom of five

Crime

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A second murder warrant has been issued for a suspect already wanted in connection with the murder of a mom-of-five in north Austin, and a $1,000 reward is being offered for information leading to his arrest.

Officers are looking for 42-year-old Pedro Fuentes Espinoza. They say he is considered armed and extremely dangerous, and anyone who sees him should avoid contact with him and call 911 immediately.

Espinoza is suspected of killing Elvi Vanessa Cervantes-De La Torre, 38, in a shooting at the Canyon Trails Apartment Complex at 7020 Grand Canyon Drive on Feb. 17.

Homicide detectives have now obtained a second murder warrant for Espinoza related to the earlier shooting death of Julio Cesar Gamez-Contreras in north Austin on Aug. 11, 2019.

The 26-year-old victim was found dead in the parking lot of La Preferida bar at 10205 North Lamar Boulevard. According to Austin Police Department Sgt. Eric De Los Santos, the situation began as a fight in the bar before the security guard kicked everyone out.

De Los Santos said a Chevy Tahoe and a white Cadillac Escalade tried to block them in. Someone in the truck got out and walked to the Escalade, asking for a gun, a witness said. That’s when the Escalade driver, believed to be Espinoza, rolled down the passenger window and started shooting, the witness told police.

“Somebody is dying — Hurry!” a witness said to the 9-1-1 dispatcher. He could be heard telling an officer “A White Escalade — They took off!”

Two others were shot in the legs, and Gamez-Contreras died at the scene.

Another parking lot homicide

Vanessa Cervantes was shot dead in north Austin last month (Picture: GoFundMe)

Elvi Vanessa Cervantez-De La Torre pulled up in the parking lot at the apartment complex on 7020 Grand Canyon Drive on Feb. 17. A witness said Espinoza approached and wanted them to move from that parking spot and an argument ensued.

The witness said Espinoza left and returned with a gun, shooting Cervantes and her passenger, and drove off.

Espinoza left in a black Cadillac Escalade — the same model as the white Escalade that left the other scene.

Police said the car had been repainted “due to the intense media attention placed on the search for his vehicle.”

A third possible homicide

Detectives from the Austin Police Department also believe Espinoza may have committed a third murder in Mexico, and came to Austin to avoid being apprehended.

Anyone who has information about either incident, anyone who has video or knows Espinoza’s location should contact police.

They can do so by calling Crime Stoppers at (512) 472-TIPS, using the new Crime Stoppers App, or emailing APD Homicide at homicide.apd@austintexas.gov. You may remain anonymous.

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