Investigators: pair gunned man down during ambush

POSTED: 04:29 PM PDT Jun 27, 2013 
San Jacinto Murder Suspects
RIVERSIDE, Calif. -

Two fugitives accused of gunning down a 23-year-old San Jacinto man waited for him to leave a house, then pulled in front of his car to block his path and opened fire on the unarmed victim, firing 16 rounds as he held up his hands as if to ``surrender,'' according to court papers released today.

Ivan Ibarra Carrillo was fatally shot during a June 6 attack near the intersection of Las Rosas Drive and Osprey Street in San Jacinto.

Juan Javier Mejia, 39, of Palm Springs and Abram Daniel Palacios, 24, of San Jacinto each are charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy and a special circumstance allegation of lying in wait, along with sentence-enhancing gun and great bodily injury allegations in connection with the slaying.

Both defendants remain at large. Mejia is suspected of fleeing to Mexico.

According to an arrest warrant affidavit filed by sheriff's Investigator Martin Alfaro, Carrillo was shot multiple times in the head and upper body around 7 p.m. on June 6.

The victim was leaving a house on Las Rosas in his Ford Excursion when, according to witnesses, a pair of men in a black four-door Honda Accord pulled directly in front of the northbound SUV, with the front of the Honda facing west, leaving the larger vehicle no room to pass.

``A witness saw the driver and front-seat passenger of the Honda get out of the vehicle and immediately start shooting at the Excursion,'' Alfaro wrote. ``The witness said the driver of the Excursion had both hands up in the air, as if surrendering or giving up.''

After firing 14 rounds from a .40 caliber handgun and 2 rounds from a .9mm pistol, the gunmen jumped back into the Accord and fled the area, according to the affidavit.

Sheriff's deputies swarmed to the location but were unable to locate any suspects. Carrillo was pronounced dead at the scene.

One witness was shown a photographic lineup of potential suspects and positively identified Palacios as one of the shooters, according to Alfaro.

He said investigators tracked down Palacios' girlfriend and discovered that the Honda was hers. The woman confirmed that the defendant and Mejia, who are brothers, had borrowed the car and that Palacios allegedly admitted killing Carrillo.

On June 19, sheriff's deputies executed a search warrant at one of Mejia's domiciles in the 44700 block of Florida Avenue in Hemet. According to Alfaro, the defendant was not there. However, using up-to-the-minute mobile phone coordinates provided by Mejia's cell phone carrier, investigators discovered he was in the area of Indian Canyon and San Rafael drives in Palm Springs.

According to Alfaro, Mejia's wife and children reside in an apartment on Sunrise Way in Palm Springs. The woman, whose identity was withheld, later told investigators that her spouse and Palacios had appeared at the residence around 11 p.m. on June 18 and abruptly left three hours later.

``We called Mejia's cell phone several times, and Mejia stated he was already in Mexico and hung up,'' Alfaro wrote.

The investigator said the defendant called his wife a few hours after leaving the apartment and ``made several admissions, stating something had happened.''

``He told her to take care of the kids ... and stated she might not see him again and to sell his truck, trailer, everything and keep the money,'' according to the affidavit.

A motive for the fatal attack on Carrillo has not been disclosed.