AP NEWS

Feds investigate shooting in Rancho Viejo

September 26, 2018

Homeland Security Investigations and the Rancho Viejo Police Department are investigating a Sept. 7. drug-related home invasion where armed intruders shot a man with a shotgun.

According to a federal criminal complaint, Rancho Viejo police responded to a 911 call regarding a subject shot at approximately 12:15 a.m. Isaac Suchil-Moreno, 21, subsequently was charged with making a false, fictitious or fraudulent statement to a Homeland Security Investigations agent in relation to an ongoing criminal investigation.

The victim, Jose Juan Moreno-Romero, was transported to Valley Regional Medical Center, the criminal complaint states.

Rancho Viejo Police Chief Manuel Cruz said a number of men, possibly up to four, who were traveling in two vehicles, broke down the door of a home near Pizarro Avenue and Rancho Viejo Drive and shot a man and assaulted another person staying at the residence.

Cruz, who declined to comment on a motive for the home invasion, said according to the victim, the suspects were only in the residence for about five minutes.

“We don’t have any concrete leads at this time,” Cruz said as to suspects, but added the department has several leads for persons of interest.

The criminal complaint against Suchil-Moreno, the gunshot victim’s nephew, reveals that authorities recovered more than five pounds of cocaine from the residence HSI Special Agent Zackary T. Rhinehart testified during a probable cause hearing Monday that Moreno-Romero, who sustained a gunshot wound to his upper left body, is nowhere to be found.

“He is hiding from us currently,” Rhinehart said.

The shooting victim’s nephew, Suchil-Moreno, became entangled in the investigation after authorities discovered an O’Reilly Auto Parts receipt in the front yard at the scene of the crime. Rhinehart testified he tracked the receipt to Suchil-Moreno, who is on probation for transporting undocumented immigrants.

At Rhinehart’s request, Suchil-Moreno’s probation officer called him into the probation office on Sept. 11 where the HSI agent was waiting for him. According to Suchil-Moreno’s defense attorney, Noe Garza, the man had no idea why he was being called into the probation office and became nervous during the interview with Rhinehart, who asked the man to give a breakdown of his day on Sept. 7.

Suchil-Moreno broke down his day, but never mentioned a trip to the O’Reilly Auto Parts store until Rhinehart confronted him with a photo of the receipt. Rhinehart said Suchil-Moreno also lied about his whereabouts that day.

That’s why authorities charged Suchil-Morenowith making a false, fictitious or fraudulent statement. Once confronted with the evidence, Suchil-Moreno confirmed the visit to the auto parts store.

On Monday, Suchil-Moreno’s sister, Edna Castillo, testified that she asked her brother to go to the auto parts store because she couldn’t drive due to an operation. When he returned, he gave her the receipt.

Later that night, Castillo said her aunt called her, screaming, saying her uncle had been shot.

Castillo said she woke her two young children and drove to Rancho Viejo.

She testified Monday that the receipt from the auto parts store was in the purse she took along to her uncle’s house and she believes it must have fallen from her purse.

Castillo said she doesn’t know why Suchil-Moreno didn’t tell police the truth, but just believes he was nervous because of his probation.

She called him from the hospital that night, and he came and picked up her children for her, less than an hour after the shooting.

mreagan@brownsvilleherald.com

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