January 17, 2012 9:21 AM
SAN JUAN — Several witnesses watched as a group of suspected gang members dragged what appeared to be a lifeless body from a second-story apartment to a nearby alley, but no f reported it to authorities until nearly four hours later, police said.
San Juan police searched Monday for about eight suspected Tri-City Bombers accused of participating in the beating death of Rogelio Pardo Jr., 36.
Officers have not made any arrests in connection with the early Monday morning case.
Pardo suffered several blows to his head and body during a party at the Condesa Apartment complex — on “I” Road south of Business 83 — about 4 a.m., police said.
“He was severely beaten,” police Chief Juan Gonzalez said. “He has a lot of physical trauma to his face.”
Witnesses spotted at least six men and two women carrying what appeared to be Pardo’s lifeless body down a flight of stairs and into an alley, where they abandoned him behind a large trash bin, Gonzalez said.
“One of the witnesses even asked, ‘Is he all right?’” Gonzalez said. “And the guys said, ‘Oh, yeah. We’re just going to take him out to the back.’”
It wasn’t until almost four hours later, when one of the witnesses went to check up on the victim, that they contacted police about the incident, Gonzalez added.
But by then, it was too late. Officers found Pardo dead at the scene about 8 a.m., and the suspects had already fled the area in three vehicles.
“A lot of the witnesses were scared to come forward due to the fact that a lot of these guys are gang members,” Gonzalez said.
The victim was a gang member, too, Gonzalez said.
A public search of Pardo’s criminal records indicated he had been convicted of various offenses, including theft, aggravated robbery, possession of a controlled substance and driving while intoxicated.
He did not live at the apartment complex — he was only attending the party there, apparently, police said. He lived on and off with several people.
The markings on the red brick walls of the apartment buildings and the tagging on the trash bins where Pardo was left spoke to the illicit activity in the area.
Residents living there refused to speak to the media Monday. They simply stood at their doors and balconies and watched as police combed the area for evidence.
One officer stood guard outside apartment No. 5, where investigators believe the beating took place. A white sofa and at least two white trash bags filled with empty beer cans could be scene outside the door.
Investigators were searching for the woman who rented the apartment.
“She clearly knows what happened here,” Gonzalez said.
Police executed a search warrant at the home and found a shotgun inside, he said. The wounds on Pardo, however, were not consistent with a gunshot wound.
A woman who watched the crime scene investigation unfold from a balcony in a separate apartment building Monday morning told a Monitor reporter her area seemed relatively quiet that morning, but she could not speak for the other side, where apartment No. 5 is located.
She refused to give her name and quickly went inside afterward.
“I think when it’s murder — and especially when six to eight people are involved — it’s probably the fear of the gang (that stops people from speaking out),” said S. George Vincentnathan, chair of the criminal justice department at the University of Texas-Pan American. “It may be because of many reasons, but mostly fear of retaliation.”
Most people don’t report suspicious activity, Vincentnathan said.
“Women and public servants — like police, nurses or people in the fire department — tend to report much more than ordinary citizens,” he added.
Investigators continued to follow promising leads developed by Gangscope, a database software used to gather information and keep track of gang members in the city, Gonzalez said.
“That’s how we identified the persons of interest that we’re going to try to locate,” he said. “That database has helped us tremendously in this investigation.”
This is the first homicide the San Juan Police Department has investigated this year and the first reported throughout Hidalgo County.[Text Via The Monitor]