Two teenagers who police say broke into a west Fort Worth apartment, then fatally shot a mother home caring for her young son, are members of a recently formed gang in the Las Vegas Trail area, police say.
The boys — ages 13 and 14 — were arrested Sunday afternoon. Their identities have not been released because they are juveniles.
One of the boys told investigators that the pair had broken into the Manitoba apartment of Yesenia Gutierrez on Friday afternoon after peering into a window, seeing a video gaming device, and thinking it would be an easy "lick."
When they kicked open the door, they found Gutierrez, 31, inside.
They demanded her phone — which she gave them — but then shot her in the head before running, according to information released by police Tuesday.
The boys, who are being held in juvenile custody, face charges of delinquent conduct/capital murder.
A last text
Yesenia Gutierrez's husband had been at work when he received a text from his wife at 11:04 a.m. Friday, asking him to answer his phone.
He texted Gutierrez back repeatedly, asking what was wrong.
She did not respond.
Concerned, he left work early and drove to their apartment in the 8200 block of Calmont Avenue where Gutierrez was caring for their 3-year-old son. The couple's two other children were in school.
There, he found their front door kicked in and his wife bleeding on the floor near the dining room table.
He tried to help her before grabbing their 3-year-old son to get him out of the apartment. Crying and covered in his wife's blood, he asked a neighbor to call 911.
Gutierrez was pronounced dead at the scene. She'd been shot in the back of the neck.
When found, her body was face-down near a broken dining chair, clutching a chair cushion, police say.
A spent shell casing lay on the carpet nearby.
A heard scuffle
Police initially had little to go on.
A neighbor told homicide Detective Matt Barron that she'd heard what sounded like a scuffle — enough to shake the mirror mounted on her living room wall — and later footsteps running down the apartment building's stairs.
She peered out a window in time to see two people, one with a hood pulled over his head, running south through the complex.
An apartment employee told homicide Detective J. Galloway that he also saw two people run from the apartment building.
Detectives Tom O'Brien and Kyle Sullivan scoured the area for surveillance video.
Later, Barron and O'Brien researched area crime trends and coordinated with the department's robbery and gang units.
They learned two youth gangs had recently formed in the Las Vegas Trail corridor and that some of the gang members were suspects in invasion-style robberies.
That same night, gang officers detained four people in the 8300 block of Mojave Trail for traffic-related violations.
One of the four people, an adult, had a 9mm handgun and silencer. Another had a loaded magazine that went with the gun.
Barron asked gang officers to check the ammunition in the magazine.
The casings were stamped with "RP 9mm" (Remington Peters), the same brand and caliber of the casing found near Gutierrez's body. Ballistic tests later confirmed the gun had fired the shell casing found at the scene, police say.
The adult told investigators that he'd taken the gun from two teenagers after hearing them claim they'd witnessed the woman's shooting.
The adult said he "put things together" and took the gun because the teens were running around doing stupid things, police say.
The adult said he was in the process of moving the gun to another location when they were stopped by officers.
He also identified the two teenagers he'd taken the gun from as the two people seen on surveillance footage walking toward where the shooting occurred about eight minutes before Gutierrez's last text to her husband.
Police later found the two teenagers.
When interviewed, one said he'd left the apartment after the woman handed over her pink I-Phone phone, then heard a shot.
He said the pair later disposed of the phone because they couldn't get it unlocked.
The other said both were present in the apartment during the shooting.