Four Arrests in Connection with Shooting that Rocked Community - South Texas, Corpus Christi, Coastal Bend

Four Arrests in Connection with Shooting that Rocked Community

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Police have confirmed a total of four arrests made in connection with the Feb. 16 shooting on Cheryl Drive that left two little girls dead.

It was around 11:30 p.m. that night when gunmen opened fire into the home on Cheryl Drive while a kid's birthday party went on inside. Six-year old Nevaeh Oliva and two-year old Lilliana Valent were both shot and killed.

A press conference was held at the Corpus Christi Police Department headquarters Friday morning to give details of the overnight arrest of two men, 26-year old Brendon Gaytan and 22-year old Cruz Salazar, who are now facing charges of capital murder in relation to that shooting.

It was around 1:30 a.m. when police raided an apartment in the 800 block of Indiana Avenue, where the two men were located. Police Chief Floyd Simpson said that they had the element of surprise, and the two suspects were arrested without incident.

A neighbor there told 3News that it was the second time a swarm of armed police officers had been to that home. Last week, officers had shown up looking for Cruz Salazar.

It was later confirmed that there were two previous arrests in connection with the Cheryl Drive shooting. 48-year old Juanita Bustamante and 26-year old Maricela Bustamante were both arrested last week at a home in the 100 block of Adams Drive, and charged with tampering with evidence.

As for the two shooting suspects, Salazar and Gaytan, they are no strangers to the law. 3News took a look at their police records and found that Gaytan has a lengthy arrest record for drug offenses, while Salazar just has a pending DWI case.

The two men were staying in the apartment in the 800 block of Indiana Avenue where they were arrested. The landlord at the apartment, Deborah Gutierrez, said she had spoken with the tenants about recent tragedies in Corpus Christi, and they even discussed the shooting on Cheryl Drive.

"He was standing right there," Gutierrez said. "We were just talking and he didn't say anything. So that's why I am in shock. I just can't, I was talking to him."

Gutierrez said the suspects were very friendly and she never suspected a thing. She allowed cameras inside of the apartment, where 3News found holy water and a cross. There were lots of red t-shirts on the floor.

Some knives, one shaped like a gun, and pornography were also found inside of the apartment.

3News reached out to the family of Nevaeh and Lilliana to see what they had to say about the recent arrests. Nevaeh's grandfather provided a statement on behalf of the family:

"Well, I like to start by saying thank God that  they caught them. Justice will be served for my granddaughter. I would like to thank the CCPD for doing a good job in the investigation; in solving this case. And would like to thank the community and public for their love and support they are giving my daughter and my son-in-law and the rest of the family. Now we, the family, can begin to heal. Justice will be served. I would not like to meet. I do ask the media to respect the privacy of my family so that we can grieve my granddaughter. Thank you once again for the love and support from the public and community for my family."

Meanwhile, neighbors on Cheryl Drive were relieved after hearing news of the arrests.

"Oh, that's such a blessing. Thank you Jesus," neighbor Myra Hernandez said. "I really do. I'm really happy about that. That family, they've been through a lot. God bless them and their family, a lot. I've been praying for them.

"I am so thrilled," another neighbor said. "I'm happy that they found somebody. I'm so happy and I'm so thankful to the police department that they got the people that did that."

Neighbors on Adams Street, where Juanita and Maricela Bustamante were arrested, declined to go on camera, but they said they knew Juanita as a hard working mother of five.

Most people that spoke with 3News about the arrests were glad the suspects were found, and said they believe the punishment should be severe.

Gaytan and Salazar went before a magistrate judge at the Nueces County Courthouse Friday afternoon. Their bond has been set at $2 million each.