Illegal immigrant accused of killing three in gun and knife rampage was deported 10 years ago but never left the country.
A Salvadoran man who was ordered deported nearly a decade ago but never left has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder in a series of shootings and a knife attack in a Virginia suburb of Washington.
Jose Oswaldo Reyes Alfaro, an illegal immigrant, was charged in the pair of attacks blocks apart on Thursday night that left three people dead and three others injured, Police Chief Doug Keen said.
Brenda Ashcraft, 56, and her son William Ashcraft, 37, were shot and killed in the first attack shortly after 7pm on Thursday.
A 34-year-old woman was injured and remains hospitalised, and a 15-year-old girl was treated and released.
In the second attack, 48-year-old Julio Cesar Ulloa was shot and killed, and a 77-year-old woman suffered head wounds from a large knife.
Reyes Alfaro knew all of the victims, Chief Keen said, but police would not release details until they had sorted out the exact relationships.
While the Georgetown South development, where the killings happened, has been plagued with crime and some gang activity, Chief Keen said they were not gang related.
Brenda Ashcraft’s niece, Melissa King, said on Friday that her aunt had been a victim of domestic violence by her boyfriend, whom she only knew as ‘Jose’.
Miss King said: ‘He’d been causing trouble but she was too afraid to call police. They were good, good family, just full of love and support. This was not drug related. This was not gang related … It was just domestic violence.’
Reyes Alfaro made an initial appearance on Friday morning in Prince William General District Court, and was held without bond.
Not gang related: Police Chief Doug Keen said Brenda Ashcroft and her son William Ashcroft were shot dead at their Manassas home, pictured above right
His court-appointed lawyer, Kimberly Irving, declined to comment on Friday, except to say that she only spoken with her client briefly.
Prince William Commonwealth’s Attorney Paul Ebert said it was likely the charges would eventually be upgraded to capital murder – which would make Reyes Alfaro eligible for the death penalty – but a final decision has not been made because the investigation is still ongoing.
The killings touched off further discussion of illegal immigration in Manassas and surrounding Prince William County, which was one of the early flashpoints in the national debate over whether local authorities should play a role in enforcing the nation’s immigration laws.
State Delegate Jackson Miller, a former city council member and police officer, said: ‘It’s another abject failure of the federal government.
‘Now we have three innocent victims in my city, about a mile from my house there’s a murderous rampage. I am furious.
‘Yet it happens over and over and over again, and then we have to hear all of these apologetic excuses as to why we shouldn’t be addressing criminal illegal aliens on the state or local level. It’s just disgusting.’
A similar uproar happened in August when an allegedly drunken driver struck a car carrying three nuns, killing Sister Denise Mosier, 66.
The man charged in that crash, 23-year-old Carlos Martinelly Montano, had been turned over to immigration authorities but was released pending a deportation hearing.
Nancy Lyall of the immigrant advocacy group Mexicans Without Borders said it was misleading to link an isolated criminal case with the issue of illegal immigration.
In Prince William County, she said, ‘the undocumented population is a very, very low percentage of those who are accused of violent crimes’.
She predicted that advocates of tougher immigration enforcement would use the Reyes Alfaro case to ‘stereotype every person that’s here without documentation’.
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