Two men charged in weekend murder in Sarasota

This crash Tuesday led to the arrest of a murder suspect.
This crash Tuesday led to the arrest of a murder suspect.(WWSB-TV)
Published: Jul. 30, 2021 at 1:29 PM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Two men have been charged in connection with a murder last Sunday, one of which was caught after a hit-and-run crash July 27, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office said Friday.

The murder occurred July 25 at about 4 p.m., in front of the Day Night Convenience Store on Desoto Road. According to witnesses, several people were arguing in the parking lot when gunshots were fired.

Security footage from the convenience store revealed the victim in an argument with a women identified as 31-year-old Nichole Vasquez, along with 37-year-old Roberto Ruiz, Jr., and 20-year-old Rafael Gonzalez, the sheriff’s office said.

Gonzalez is seen firing a handgun and striking the victim several times causing the victim to retreat to the side of the building. Gonzalez followed the victim and shot him again in his chest and head, detectives said.

After the shooting, Ruiz and Vasquez fled the scene. Detectives determined the suspects were likely at the convenience store for a drug transaction.

On Tuesday, deputies and Sarasota Police officers found Ruiz in Sarasota. Just after noon, in an attempt to avoid arrest, Ruiz crashed his vehicle near the intersection of Fruitville Road and East Avenue. Ruiz fled on foot but was quickly captured. He is charged with principal to second-degree murder and remains in Sarasota County custody without bond.

Detectives issued a warrant for Gonzalez, who was arrested Friday morning in Hillsborough County. He is charged with second-degree murder and will be extradited to Sarasota County.

Vasquez, of Wauchula, is in the Manatee County Jail on unrelated charges including two counts of aggravated child abuse, failure to remain at a crash involving great bodily harm, and driving while license suspended.

The investigation is ongoing and additional charges are pending.

The suspects in a July 25 murder in Sarasota.
The suspects in a July 25 murder in Sarasota.(SCSO)

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