Two juveniles have been arrested in the killing of two Phoenix Roosevelt Row coffee-shop workers who were gunned down in the early-morning hours of Oct. 5 after they left work, Phoenix police said Wednesday.
Police said they asking the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office to charge the teens as adults.
They were identified as Antonio Palafox-Zermeno, 16, and Castulo Cervantes, 15. Police are searching for additional accomplices.
Police said they each were a year younger at the time of the armed robbery in which David Bessent, 41, and Zachary Walter, 24, were shot and killed just after 3:30 a.m.
Police said the two men were walking near Third Avenue and Roosevelt Street in Phoenix, after leaving their jobs at Jobot Coffee & Bar near Third and Roosevelt streets, where they both worked as cooks.
The men’s death came as a shock to their friends and coworkers, who described the two as gentle and loving, and known artists in the area. Approximately 25 of the men’s friends and coworkers joined together for a vigil in remembrance of the two.
At the time, police did not immediately identify suspects and had not established a motive for the shooting. The agency released surveillance footage of a white Dodge Durango believed to be connected to the incident.
The Phoenix Police Department wrote in a press release Wednesday that they were eventually able to develop probable cause that Palafox-Zermeno and Cervantes were suspects in the Oct. 2018 robbery and homicides.
The two teenagers each are facing two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of attempted armed robbery and two counts of aggravated robbery, according to a press release from the Phoenix Police Department.
Police said Cervantes initially hid from officers the day he was arrested on Aug. 18 and is being held on a $1 million cash-only bond, according to court documents. Palafox-Zermeno was arrested the following day and is being held on $1 million secured bond, court documents show.
The two teenagers are scheduled to appear in court Aug. 27 at 8:30 a.m. at South Court Tower, 175 W. Madison Street.
Police say the investigation is ongoing as at least two more suspects are believed to have been involved in the murders, the press release states.
Anyone with any information about the incident should contact the Phoenix Police Department Violent Crimes Bureau at 602-262-6141 or if individuals with information would like to remain anonymous, they can contact Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS or 480-TESTIGO for Spanish.
This is a developing story; check back with azcentral.com for updates.
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The two men were fatally shot near Third Avenue and Roosevelt Street around 3:30 a.m. while walking home from their jobs at a nearby coffee house.
Alyssa Williams, azcentral
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