On June 15, the vehicle of a person who happened to be a witness in the murder case against Joe Angel Lopez was burned on a street in north Fort Worth.
Five days later, on June 20, four Molotov cocktails were tossed at the home of another witness in the case, and authorities believe the perpetrators were trying to intimidate all witnesses before the murder trial began.
But a Tarrant County jury convicted Lopez, 20, of fatally shooting 23-year-old Bianca Jimenez of Fort Worth last year after a dispute in a neighborhood on Selene Street. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison.
Two documented gang members, Christopher Ramon, 46, and Richard Campos, 43, were arrested Tuesday, accused of setting those fires in June.
Ramon was arrested in the 3700 block of North Harding Street by gang officers, SWAT members and arson investigators. A woman also was detained; she was released after being interviewed.
Ramon faces charges of arson of a habitation and engaging in organized criminal activity.
Campos was arrested in Haltom City without incident, and he faces the same two charges.
The investigation continues and there could be more arrests, arson investigator M.W. May said in an email.
The threats against witnesses began a few days after Jimenez’s fatal shooting on April 24, 2016, according to Tarrant County court documents.
Lopez warned a witness just days after the slaying, “You know what happens to snitches, they end up in ditches.”
The court documents say Lopez made the comment April 28, 2016, and repeatedly asked the witness a few days later, “You don’t know anything, right?”
The threats came again last month, according to court documents.
An arsonist burned a different witness’s car June 15, and an attempt was made to set fire to a home of yet another witness June 20, the documents stated.
By the time firefighters arrived on the June 20 call, the fires already were extinguished, according to a police report.
No injuries were reported in the June fires.
Campos and Ramon remained in the Mansfield Jail on Wednesday with bail for each set at $110,000.