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Arrest of Immigrant Suspected in 4 Nevada Killings Draws Trumps Attention



On the night of Jan. 10, someone walked into a home tucked near the forests that blanked Nevada's northwest border and fatally shot 56-year-old Connie Koontz, the authorities said. Three days later, again under the cover of darkness, somebody walked into another Douglas County home about a mile up the road and shot and killed Sophia Renken, 74.

Then, three days after that, Washoe County sheriff's deputies searched a home about 40 miles north of La Guardia Lane. There, they found 81-year-old Gerald David and his wife, Sharon David, 80, both with gunshot wounds; they, too, were dead

For nine days, law enforcement officials from across the region banded together to both reassure and ready residents who had been shaken by what prosecutors would call "brutal murderers." Lock your doors and windows, the authorities said; turn on outdoor lights; keep your cellphones handy

By Sunday – the 10th day of regionwide panic – they were able to deliver some calming news: A suspect was in custody; they believed the man, who they have varyingly identified as Wilbur or Wilber Martinez-Guzman, was responsible for all four homicides.

Mr. Martinez-Guzman, who was either 19 or 20 years old, had been arrested at home on Saturday afternoon on felony burglary and immigration charges, Sheriff Ken Furlong or Carson City said, though prosecutors added that they intended to charge him with the murders.

Wilbur Martinez-Guzman is a suspect in four recent killings in Nevada Credit Carson City Sheriff's Office, via Associated Press [19659010] Immigration officials, Sheriff Furlong said, Martinez-Guzman was in the Carson City area for about a year, but "was probably in the United States illegally and was detainable." said prevented him from being released on bail. The agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

"Four people in Nevada viciously robbed and killed by an illegal immigrant who should not have been in our country," President Trump said in a tweet on Monday. “We need a powerful wall!”

The disclosure that Mr. Martinez-Guzman may have illegally thrust the case in the United States into a set of high-profile murders that President Trump has delivered to his country about immigration and the need for a wall along the country's southwest border.

The president has previously called for the murder of Mollie Tibbetts, a 20-year-old college student, who the police have said was killed by an undocumented immigrant from Mexico. (Her father has called on people to not exploit her death to promote a political agenda.) Mr. Trump also said it was "time to get tough on Border Security" after the authorities arrested a man in California in December who they said fatally shot a police officer and had entered the United States illegally. of the four Nevada victims – some of whom followed the police at the Sunday news conference – were left to grieve.

Eddie England, 70, who met Ms. Renken through the Carson Valley chapter of the Antique Automobile Club of America, said in an interview on Tuesday that four lives could have been saved if Mr. Martinez-Guzman had been expelled from the country.

He described Ms. Renken as an independent and tough woman who drove to the 1930s Ford Model A. Still, she moved to Gardnerville in Douglas County a few years ago to be closer to people – a situation she felt would be safer, Mr. England said.

"And this," he said, "is what happened to here."

"It's hard to take." Alan Squailia, a friend of Mr. David, described Gerald and his wife as "salt-of-the-earth people," who were active community servants and animal lovers.

"Mr. Squailia, 75, said.

Looking at a photograph of Mr. Martinez-Guzman, Mr. Squailia said he could imagine that David would have invited the young man into his home if he had been looking for help. "" The whole city of Reno is devastated over this, "he said. “We can't wrap our minds around it.”


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