A 20-year-old Texas man shot dead his 19-year-old ex-girlfriend — and then returned to the scene of the crime Thursday and took his own life with a shotgun blow at a makeshift memorial for the victim, police said.
Juan Carlos Mata was wanted by authorities in connection with Lesley Reyes’ cold-blooded murder at the Oakwood Village Apartments in Pasadena, Texas when a 911 caller reported seeing him at the complex Thursday, news outlet ABC13 reported.
An officer raced to the scene, arriving there about 10 minutes after the initial call, and tried to talk to Mata, according to police.
But the 20-year-old ducked behind a parked car, grabbed a shotgun and shot himself in front of the responding cop.
He died at the scene.
It is possible that the shotgun used in Mata’s suicide was the murder weapon used in Reyes’ killing, police said.
The 19-year-old woman had been returning home from her shift at O’Reilly Auto Parts before midnight Monday when police said Mata ambushed her in the parking lot, where he had been reportedly lying in wait for hours.
The 20-year-old allegedly had words with the woman before shooting her in the head and running off.
“He didn’t want to see her with someone else,” said Lourdes Martinez, Reyes’ sister.
Reyes’ parents who were home at the time heard the gunshots.
Her mother called the 19-year-old to tell her to be careful, not knowing that it was her daughter who had just been gunned down.
Mata picked up Reyes’ phone and spoke to her mom, tearfully saying that he was sorry.
When the woman’s parents ran outside, they found their daughter dead in the parking lot.
Police labeled Mata a person of interest in the murder and launched a manhunt for him, but he was not formally charged with any crime at the time of his suicide.
“We put out his picture out to the public, hoping that somebody would give us information,” said Sgt. Raul Granados, with the Pasadena Police Department. “We weren’t able to obtain any information; we just know that he showed up, back at the scene.”
The victim’s family said that Reyes broke up with Mata about a month ago after a year of dating, but he refused to accept the split and would send her unwanted text messages and show up at her home uninvited.
Relatives described the former couple’s relationship to the station KHOU11 as “toxic” and Mata as “obsessed” with his ex.
Martinez, Reyes’ sister, claimed that Mata abused the 19-year-old while they were dating, but she only learned about it after the breakup.
Granados said that the police department’s records contain one documented instance of a disturbance involving Mata and Reyes from a year ago, but cops did not investigate any domestic violence between them.