AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin Police arrested an 18-year-old after officers found a man dead on Aug. 10 from “blunt force trauma to the head” outside of a store in north Austin.
Detectives responded to the scene at a convenience store around 1 p.m. near 1200 Kramer Ln., close to Plains Trail just south of West Braker Lane.
Police said first responders initially believed a car hit and killed the man, because one sped away close to 1 p.m., which Austin-Travis County EMS tweeted about Wednesday afternoon. However, officers said a car did not hit the victim.
When officers arrived, they found the victim, identified as Josue Salazar, 40, lying on the ground, unresponsive with apparent trauma. Salazar was pronounced deceased at 1:10 p.m.
Homicide detectives and crime scene specialists investigated the scene. Preliminary investigation revealed Jose Alberto Lopez-Mederos arrived in a vehicle, walked up to Salazar and hit him repeatedly with a baseball bat, which caused his death, according to a press release from APD.
An affidavit for Lopez-Mederos said surveillance video from the store captured the entire attack, including the car Lopez-Mederos was driving, a dark-colored, four-door sedan. A witness standing nearby to where the assault took place was able to take several clear photos of the suspect’s car and license plate.
The affidavit said the plate number connected back to a January traffic stop where Lopez-Mederos was the driver. Police then matched Lopez-Mederos’ license photo to the suspect caught on surveillance video.
Police also said in the affidavit about one hour before the murder, someone who knew Salazar received a phone call from him from a borrowed phone. Police found the phone was associated with an account of a person who had the same last name as Lopez-Mederos, meaning the victim and suspect likely knew each other and were together before the incident, detectives concluded.
An arrest warrant was issued for Lopez-Mederos for first-degree murder. Members of the Lonestar Fugitive Task Force/U.S. Marshal’s Office arrested Lopez-Mederos at 15212 Valerian Tea Dr.
Anyone with information or video of the incident should call APD Homicide at (512) 974-TIPS, the Crime Stoppers anonymous tip line at (512) 472-8477, use the new Crime Stoppers App or email APD Homicide at email@example.com. You may remain anonymous.
This case is being investigated as Austin’s 47th homicide of 2022. The Austin Fire Department also responded to the scene.