By Eric Rosario
Christopher McDonnell, 28, was charged by the Clark County district attorney with the murder of Kevin Mendiola, Jr. He is scheduled to appear and be arraigned in the court of Judge Steven George at 9 a.m., December 1 in the Henderson Justice Court.
Several witnesses saw Mr. McDonnell enter the 7-eleven, where Mr. Mendiola was shot dead, shortly after midnight Thanksgiving morning, then began shooting at people when he exited into the parking lot. This is according to an arrest report released today.
The witnesses described Mr. McDonnell as a man with tattoos or face paintings in the form of a skeleton.
According to the arrest record, Kayleigh Lewis, 25, went into the 7-eleven with Christopher McDonnell. Another man, believed to be Shawn McDonnell, 30, was in a dark-colored getaway car while Christopher and Lewis were in the 7-eleven.
A female witness said one of the men walked up to her car, tapped on the window with his firearm, and said, "You're not going to die today."
Christopher McDonnell is facing a murder charge with deadly weapon and gang enhancements. Each of the enhancements to the murder charge may add up to 20 years of imprisonment, on top of any sentencing for a murder conviction, according to Nevada law.
Henderson Police Department spokesman Officer Alan Olvera said his agency was not able to provide information as to whether either of the three suspects are being investigated for aggravating circumstances in the murder of Mr. Mendiola. An aggravating circumstance, such as terrorism, hate crime, prior conviction of a violent crime, and other circumstances, may increase the charges to a capital murder case. Conviction of a capital murder may lead to the death penalty.
HPD responded to the 7-eleven at 12:54 a.m. Thanksgiving morning and found four people, including Mr. Mendiola, his girlfriend, and his younger brother, shot. Police also were responding to several other calls of drive by shootings in the area around the same time.
About nine hours later, Arizona police found and captured the three suspects near Parkway, Arizona after reports of drive by shootings along a busy Arizona highway.
According to the arrest record, the three suspects drove from Tyler, Texas, where they lived, to Nevada.