OAN’s Elizabeth Volberding
1:25 PM – Tuesday, October 17, 2023
Law enforcement authorities apprehended a young man this week in connection to the murder of Philadelphia police officer Richard Mendez.
On Monday, 18-year-old Yobranny Martinez-Fernandez of Camden County, New Jersey, was arrested in connection to the killing of the officer. The incident occurred on Thursday, October 12th in the parking lot of the Philadelphia International Airport.
Officials stated that they had received information on Monday linking Martinez-Fernandez to the incident.
It was also announced that U.S. Marshals, the FBI, New Jersey state troopers, and Philadelphia police joined forces and were able to arrest him at the Days Inn in Cherry Hill at around 4 a.m.
According to authorities, Officer Mendez and another officer named Raul Ortiz had just arrived to work at 11 p.m. on Thursday. After receiving a call, they witnessed multiple people breaking into a vehicle in the garage. Soon after, the officers attempted to confront the people and were quickly shot by one or more of the suspects.
Police said that Officer Mendez, who had been on the force for over two decades, was shot four times in his upper torso and later died at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center.
Ortiz, who was reportedly a 20-year veteran of the force, was shot in the arm and was later released from the hospital on Saturday.
“A happy day to see him get out of the hospital, knowing that he’s on the road to recovery as far as his arm, but it’s really his mind and his heart that’s going to need some time to heal,” Interim Police Commissioner John Stanford said.
Investigators stated that Martinez-Hernandez and at least three others were believed to have participated in the vehicle theft. There is still an ongoing search for the other suspects involved.
One of the teenagers involved was 18-year-old Jesus Herman Madera-Duran. According to authorities, Madera-Duran was allegedly involved in the confrontation with the officers.
He was later seen being dropped off at the hospital by the suspects in an SUV that had been reported stolen a week prior. After suffering gunshot wounds to his left arm, chest, and abdomen, Duran was declared dead at around 11:30 p.m. on Thursday.
Police assumed that Duran had at least three partners and believed one of them was responsible for “firing the firearm that shot all three of these individuals,” First Deputy Commissioner Frank Vanore said at a news conference on Monday.
“We believe that both Ortiz and Mendez attempted to apprehend at least one of the individuals. We think, by the evidence, someone came behind Mendez and fired a weapon,” Vanore said.
Additionally, he mentioned that there was potential that Duran was hit by the shots that were initially aimed at the officer.
“We believe that individual participated in the theft of the vehicle and was subsequently involved in the shooting homicides of Officer Ortiz, Officer Mendez, as well as the individual that was with them, Jesús Durán,” he added.
Officer Mendez’s gun has not yet been retrieved.
Mendez’s funeral will be held on Tuesday and his family has requested “privacy and time to grieve.”
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