LAS VEGAS (AP) — A homeowner accused of shooting three tenants, killing two of them, after an argument over unpaid rent at his Las Vegas home told a witness that “he didn’t want to go through the eviction process,” a prosecutor said Wednesday.
Arnoldo Lozano-Sanchez “wanted to handle it, quote-unquote, ‘his way,’” Chief Deputy District Attorney Tim Fattig told a judge.
The judge decided Lozano-Sanchez, 78, should remain jailed without bail pending his arraignment on murder and attempted murder charges in the slayings of two women and the wounding of a man who authorities said was shot nine times.
Lozano-Sanchez “made statements about the victims not paying rent and that he was certainly upset about it,” Fattig said.
Police reported arriving at his small home early Tuesday to find one woman dead outside, the wounded man stumbling out the front door and another woman dead in a bedroom.
The wounded man was hospitalized in critical condition but is expected to survive, police said.
Lozano-Sanchez refused to speak with police after his arrest. A police report obtained by the Las Vegas Review-Journal said he told a witness, Adria Ortega, several days ago that he was angry about his tenants not paying rent.
“Ortega suggested Lozano go to court to evict the people living inside his home. Lozano Sanchez told the witness he would ‘handle it his way,’” the report said.
Fattig revealed that another tenant, a man identified in the police report as Carlos Lopez, was in the house during the shooting but was not shot.
Lopez told police that he saw Lozano-Sanchez go into a bedroom where a woman pleaded for her life, multiple gunshots were fired and the wounded man ran out.
“The surviving roommate heard and saw the defendant enter into another bedroom in the house, and he heard cries for help from the occupants and thereafter heard the defendant shoot them,” Fattig told the judge. “He also saw the defendant exit that bedroom, smiling.”
The names of the victims, all in their 50s, were not immediately released.
Sarah Hawkins, a deputy public defender representing Lozano-Sanchez, protested that reading a police arrest statement in court did not amount to evidence. She lost a bid to have him freed on $10,000 bail and house arrest.
The judge set Lozano-Sanchez’s next court date for Monday.
Police say they had no immediate information linking the rent dispute with a nationwide eviction moratorium that expired last week but was reinstated for areas with high transmission of COVID-19, including Nevada.
The modified ban from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention faces legal challenges and lasts until Oct 3.
Fattig told the judge that Lozano-Sanchez asked a neighbor to help him dispose of the gun, but police found it in a nearby bush.