A duo of convicted felons in California have been charged with murder after they allegedly spotted a black man walking down the street and decided to kill him to death because he was black.
William Arnold Armendariz, 24, and Samuel Vasquez, 22, were formally charged on Monday with the murder, Nov. 7, 2015, of Charles Warren Neazer, 51, in Banning, Calif., According to a press release from the Banning Police Department. .
On Tuesday, Patch reported that police believed the murder took place after Armendariz and Vasquez spotted Neazer crossing a street “and decided to shoot him because he was black.”
“Neazer was residing in the town of Banning, and as they walked home on November 7, 2015 at around 12:20 p.m., William Armendariz Jr. and Samuel Vasquez arrived next to Neazer, who was crossing the street at 5th Street. and Williams Street got out of a vehicle, produced guns and cowardly shot Neazer, ”the police press release read.
“Armendariz and Vasquez fled the scene,” the press release continued, noting that “Vasquez is in police custody and awaiting trial for the attempted murder of several other African Americans.”
Although an investigation into Neazer’s murder took place immediately after his death, with police dealing with the crime scene and interviewing witnesses, it cooled down within months.
The investigation was relaunched in 2019 after detectives began to “examine evidence from other crime scenes and began to find similarities and similar evidence to other crimes committed” both in Banning and elsewhere. . After consulting with staff, Prohibition Police Chief Matthew Hamner, who joined the department in 2019, then reassigned patrol officers to work as detectives on the case.
“Chief Hamner had to make the difficult decision to withdraw the officers from the patrol and reassign them to the Detective Office, in order to effectively conduct these complex murder investigations,” the statement said. “This decision has paid off and continues to do so.”
The Riverside District Attorney’s Office is currently reviewing the case against Armendariz and Vasquez. The two suspects are believed to be gang members and were already in custody awaiting trial for committing several other violent crimes.
Before being charged with Neazer’s death, Armendariz was charged with several murders between 2018 and 2020. He was also convicted of stealing a vehicle. Vasquez faces multiple charges of attempted murder and assault with a firearm. He was also previously convicted of domestic violence.
Newsweek contacted the interdiction police department for comment.