Phoenix police arrest second suspect in fatal April shooting

Xavier Gonzales (MCSO)

Phoenix police have arrested a second suspect in connection to a deadly shooting back in April.

Xavier Gonzales, 21, was arrested Saturday near 35th and Southern avenues.

Authorities had been looking for Mr. Gonzales after he was identified as a suspect in a shooting that occurred around 6 a.m. April 15 near Central Avenue and Baseline Road. A Silent Witness flyer released April 27 named Mr. Gonzales as the alleged shooter.

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Police had initially responded to a Circle K near Central and Dobbins Road, where they found 21-year-old Cierra Celski with a gunshot wound to her back. She was later pronounced dead.

Two surviving victims told police they had driven to at an apartment complex north of the gas station. Records state the female driver had arranged to pick up the alleged shooter — Mr. Gonzales — at the complex in an attempt to seek out drugs to buy. She arrived at the complex in her vehicle with Ms. Celski and a male passenger who was asleep.

The women exited the vehicle and confronted two male individuals, who then demanded the women’s belongings at gunpoint. A struggle ensued in which one of the suspect’s, later identified as Johnny Martinez, kept Ms. Celski from re-entering the vehicle.

The women were able to escape and attempted to leave in their vehicle. However, one of the suspects shot towards the vehicle, striking and killing Ms. Celski .

Police were able to find Mr. Martinez within days of the shooting, but Mr. Gonzales remained on the loose. However, he was arrested at a residence he was known to stay.

Police said Mr. Martinez was a convicted felon, court documents state. According to at least one report, Mr. Gonzales was a suspect in a drive-by shooting in Glendale in January 2016. Arizona Department of Corrections records show he spent time in prison for that incident, but was released March 10 of this year.

Mr. Gonzales was booked into jail in lieu of a $1 million bond. He is facing charges of first-degree murder, kidnapping, armed robbery, aggravated assault, theft, and prohibited possession of a weapon.

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