Dead Man in Drug Shooting Started Fight, Records Show, But All Involved May be Charged With Murder

Categories: Crime Blotter

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Image: Arizona Department of Corrections
David Banuelos, 31, died in an apartment gunfight on December 20 after he tried to rob a man trying to sell him 150 pounds of marijuana.

The man shot dead in a Phoenix apartment gunfight on December 20 apparently started the trouble when he tried to rob the men selling him 150 pounds of marijuana, records show.

Phoenix police are seeking the public's help in finding two suspects still outstanding from the incident, Julio Gonzalez Valenzuela, 37, and Ramiro Ortega, 27. Police Sergeant Steve Martos says the two are wanted in connection with a possible felony murder charge in the death of David Banuelos.

The incident began when a man who lived at an apartment at 2642 North 43rd Avenue attempted to "broker" the bulk sale of marijuana from one group of men to another.

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Ramiro Ortega

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Julio Valenzuela. Police are seeking the public's help in apprehending Valenzuela and Ortega.

Just before noon, Aristeo Lopez and two pals went to the apartment to sell the pot to four men, including David Banuelos, court records state.

Banuelos, who spent 2003 to 2009 in an Arizona prison for theft, pulled out a "large amount of counterfeit currency" to make the deal.

It's unclear whether the seller knew the money was fake, but Banuelos apparently had no intention of paying anything: He drew a handgun and demanded the pot and Lopez's wallet.

"A gunfight ensued inside the apartment," records state.

Lopez was shot in the leg. Banuelos and Ortega were also shot.

Banuelos' accomplices fled the apartment. Valenzuela, driving a 2003 Dodge truck with the license plate 51FB40, dropped an unidentified individual off at a nearby hospital and fled.

Banuelos died of his wounds.

Ortega is known to drive a 2004 Nissan 350Z with pink wheels and a license plate reading OFBP33.

Even Lopez, who was being robbed, could be charged with felony murder under Arizona law, Martos explains, because Banuelos was killed during the commission of a felony.

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All persons involved WILL be charged with murder.


Thank goodness this man is dead. Good riddance!


out of all the NEWS SOURCES THAT REPORTED ON THIS I EXPECTED NEW TIMES TO REPORT IT MOST ACCURATELY. FAIL! The information you have here is wrong. I was a witness to this and can tell you that Banuelos died in the arms of an older woman who lives on the property. She tried to help him and the police made her let him go just after he closed his eyes. The paramedics took him away, nobody dropped him off at the hospital. The person dropped off at the hospital survived his injuries. She spoke with him and tried to keep him awake while they waited for paramedics to be allowed to get to him. Everytime he closed his eyes and stopped talking she screamed at him to stay awake and open his eyes. She talked to him about his family and told him help was on the way. I dont know where you guys got your version from but I saw that man die being held by a lady while she cradled his head and sat next to him on the ground. A very sad scene and it shook that lady up really badly, Everyone was quiet as she talked to him and it was a very moving and sad scene to witness.


@BigMikeCali Sorry, BigMike -- got the facts from the court records, but that part should have read -- and now does -- that Valenzuela dropped off an unidentified individual at the hospital, not Banuelos.

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