Suspect Captured in San Joaquin Murder Case

November 10, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
A Valley suspect wanted in the stabbing death of a friend is in custody. Rodrigo Velasquez died Monday after being stabbed outside a market in the Fresno County town of San Joaquin. Investigators tracked down the suspect, Carlos Rodriguez, in Ensenada Mexico.Family members say the victim had planned to give the suspect a ride from Tranquility to San Joaquin and then head to school Monday. He never made it. Even though the suspect is in custody, family members still want to know why this happened.

Video cameras at D's Convenience Store captured images right before the violent attack. In the video you can see the victim pumping gas and the suspect standing nearby.

The town's mayor, who also owns the Mini Mart, watched the scene unfold on the numerous cameras both inside and outside the store.

San Joaquin Mayor Amarpreet Dhaliwal said, "I'm still in a shock. It's denial and disbelief."

We are not showing the disturbing scene. Witnesses say they didn't notice any hostility or arguing before the unexpected attack.

Dhaliwal said, "They came as regular customers. When they walked in and talked to my cashiers it was nothing out of the ordinary."

Investigators say the victim ran across the street and was quickly cornered and stabbed to death before the suspect, Carlos Rodriguez left in the victim's pickup truck.

"It was amazing how things turned around in just a minute," said Dhaliwal.

According to the surveillance video, it took less than six minutes from the start of the attack until the suspect is seen driving away.

The victim's family described Velazquez as a man who loved his two children and spent time watching and playing several sports.

Relatives are questioning why Rodriguez may have turned on Velazquez. The two are longtime friends. Some suspect robbery may be a motive since Velazquez took out some cash when he paid for his gas.

Investigators say Rodriguez also robbed a 76 gas station off of Interstate 5 and Panoche after the murder.

The suspect was still in the victim's red Chevy truck when he was caught by Mexican authorities. He's now facing extradition back to the United States.



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