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 Affidavit: Police Seized Rifles in Cheryl Drive Investigation

Girls Killed in Shooting on Cheryl Drive

Corpus Christi Police are investigating a shooting that claimed the lives of Naveah Oliva and Lillyanna Valent, ages 6 and 2 years old, at a home on Cheryl Drive.

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1 month ago

Affidavit: Police Seized Rifles in Cheryl Drive Investigation

CORPUS CHRISTI - Money may have been the motive behind the shooting at a home on Cheryl Drive that resulted in the deaths of two little girls.

According to court documents, the witness told police that the night of the shooting, Brendon Gaytan was heard on the phone telling someone he had "hit up a house and "done dirt" on someone because of money that was owed or stolen from him.

The document also identifies Gaytan as the stepbrother of Jose Oliva, the father of 6-year-old shooting victim, Nevaeh Oliva. The father of 2-year-old Lillyanna Valent, the other girl killed in the shooting, told police that he saw Gaytan moments before the gunfire started.

One of the fathers told officers that Gaytan claimed to own a military style 7.62 caliber rifle, the same kind fired at the house.

Corpus Christi police investigators recovered ammunition, body armor, and high powered rifles when they searched a home in the 4300 block of Barrera. According to police, those items belong to Gaytan.

He and Cruz Salazar remain in the Nueces County Jail on $2 million in bonds each for two counts of capital murder.

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1 month ago

Police Stay Mum on Gang Connection in Cheryl Drive Shootings

CORPUS CHRISTI - It's normal for a judge to tell a suspect to avoid associating with certain groups or people during a bond hearing.

But the same name came up during Friday's bond hearings in the Cheryl Drive shootings.

Wwe first heard it during Cruz Salazar's bond hearing "Tango Blast." And we heard it again during Brendon Gaytan's bond hearing.

But we don't know why and may not find out anytime soon.

The Corpus Christi police department doesn't want to discuss Tango Blast and any connection to the Cheryl drive shooting.

They say they don't want to give gangs any publicity.

And in this case, it's understandable.

By all appearances, Tango Blast is extremely dangerous.

A 2013 Texas Department of Public Safety report identified about 20 different criminal gangs in Texas and then ranked them according to threat level.

Tango Blast was number one.

They're what police call a Tier-1 gang.

That means they're big - they have about 10,000 members in Texas.

And, they're connected - they do business with the Mexican cartels just south of here.

Their motto is "If you ain't blasting, you ain't lasting." And unlike other, large Texas gangs like the Mexican Mafia and Texas Syndicate, they don't appear to be very organized.

But how it all ties back to the Cheryl Drive shooting will depend on how much information comes to light during a trial.

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1 month ago

Police Say Mother-Daughter Duo Tried to Hide Gun in Connection With Cheryl St Shooting

CORPUS CHRISTI -- Maricela Bustamante, one half of the mother-daughter duo accused of tampering with evidence in connection with the Cheryl Street shooting, appeared before a judge today to have her bond reduced.

Until now, her relationship with the two male suspects charged with capital murder was unknown.

But after her appearance in court, we now know that Bustamante is the girlfriend of Brendon Gaytan.

And according to an affadavit, her tampering with evidence charge stems from an incident in which Bustamante and her mother, Juanita, allegedly tried to hide a gun.

According to police documents, it all began on the night of the shooting, just before 1 am.

That's when police say Maricela and her mom went to a house on Adams Drive--one of the houses police searched last week.

Police say it was there that Maricela told a witness to hide a gun her boyfriend used in a shooting. According to police she then stashed the gun inside the garage.

Police say that's where the gun stayed hidden for five days--until the witness told police what happened when the Bustamante women came to her house.

When officers got a warrant to search the garage last week, they found a .38 caliber handgun, tucked into a box.

Juanita Bustamante has already been released from jail and her daughter Maricela's bond was reduced today from $100 thousand to $25 thousand dollars.

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1 month ago

Murder Suspects Ask for Court Appointed Attorneys

CORPUS CHRISTI - The two men arrested on capital murder charges in the Cheryl Drive shooting investigation were in court today for a hearing.

26-year-old Brendon Gaytan and 22-year-old Cruz Salazar went in front of a judge to request court-appointed attorneys.

Corpus Christi police arrested the two men early Friday morning for shooting deaths of 2-year old Lillyanna Valent and 6-year-old Nevaeh Oliva. The cousins were shot earlier this month while attending a birthday party.

Gaytan and Salazar have been ordered to avoid contact with any gang members while in jail or if they get out on bond.

A mother and daughter were also arrested in connection with the shooting. Maricela Bustamante went before a judge to request a lower bond on a tampering with evidence. The request was granted. She's now being held on a $25,000 bond.

We're learning more about how Maricela Bustamante and her mother, Juanita, could fit in to the shooting that left two little girls dead.

Maricela's boyfriend is Brendon Gaytan. According to court documents, she's accused of trying to get rid of a gun that allegedly belonged to her boyfriend.

Five days after the shooting, a witness told police that both Maricela and Juanita Bustamante asked for help finding a place to hide the gun at a home on Adams Drive. That's where police say they found the .38 caliber pistol during a search.

KRIS 6 News is working on more information in this case. Reporter Sara Donchey will have an update tonight on KRIS 6 News at 6pm. Reporter Rick Spruill is also investigating connections to the prison gang 'Tango Blast.'

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1 month ago

Neighbors Say Cheryl Drive Murder Arrests Were Like An Episode of COPS

CORPUS CHRISTI - The home on the 800 block on Indiana may look like a quiet home now, but last night police swarmed the home to arrest 26-year old Brendon Gaytan and 22-year old Cruz Salazar. The man who lives behind the Duplex where the two were arrested saw the whole thing, and said it was a sight he will never forget.

"It was like an episode of cops... Out in front of my house," said Jason Snowdy.

Snowdy says it was about 1:30 in the morning when he saw cops in his front yard surrounding the duplex that's right in front of him.

"They pulled in in a big silver truck. About 10 or 15 cops jumped out of the back of it strapped up, ready to go SWAT team style. Went up the back door and hit it with the door breaker and went in. Heard some curse words thrown, get down on the ground," said Snowdy.

He says it wasn't long before officers pulled Gaytan and Salazar out of their home.

"Slammed one of them into that glass window up there. Slammed his face into it. He was resisting. The other one tried to run down the stairs, almost fell. The cop had his arms from behind to keep him from running. And they were screaming they didn't do it," said Snowdy.

Snowdy says cops were at Gaytan and Salazar's home earlier in the week. The Landlord says the men had lived there about three months. Snowdy says he never really spoke to the two men, and now he's glad he didn't

"Now that I find out that they did a drive by and killed two babies, and they're the ones they've been looking for this whole time... And to have them right here... In my midst around my family. Very upsetting," said Snowdy.

We're told a Crimestoppers tip helped led to Gaytan and Salazar's arrest. They are currently in the Nueces County Jail being held on a $2 million bond. Police still have not released a motive for the shooting, and they won't tell us if the suspects know the victims' families. Police say this is still an open investigation. So, if you have any information on last week's shooting, call Crimestoppers at 888-TIPS.

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1 month ago

Background on Cheryl Drive Murder Suspects

CORPUS CHRISTI - Brendan Gaytan and Cruz Salazar both have some history on the wrong side of the law, although nothing we've found shows a history of violent crime.

Nueces County records show Gaytan has spent more time in court for criminal charges than has Cruz, who appears to have a pending DWI charge here from July, 2013.

But Gaytan shows a pattern of arrests going several years back - most of them on drug possession.

In April, 2006, Gaytan pleaded guilty to drug possession charges and evading arrest. He was sentenced to ten years in prison but the judge decided to knock down his sentence to eight years probation.

Seven months later, he was convicted again on drug possession charges and sentenced to 18 months in jail.

In March, 2009, Gaytan received 10 years in prison for drug possession charges but that was knocked down to five years probation.

District Attorney Mark Skurka said Gaytan and Salazar both now face capital murder charges.

"In this there is a special statute for killing children under the age of 10. The Legislature has decided for the protection of those children - if you kill a child intentionally and knowingly under the age of 10 , you could be facing capital murder."

Navaeh Oliva was six. Lillyanna Valent was even younger - she was two.

If convicted of capital murder, the men face either life without parole or the death penalty.

Skurka told KRIS-6 today it's way too early to discuss whether he will seek the death penalty.

There is still a lot of evidence to gather, he said.

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1 month ago

Four Arrests Connected to Cheryl Drive Shooting

CORPUS CHRISTI -- Corpus Christi Police arrested 26-year-old Brendon Gaytan and 22-year-old Cruz Salazar overnight in connection with the Cheryl Drive shooting that left two young cousins dead.

Two-year-old Lillyanna Valent and 6-year-old Nevaeh Oliva died February 16 at a children's birthday party.

Someone fired dozens of shots inside the home, killing both girls.

Police charged Gaytan and Salazar with two counts of capital murder, each. Both have bonds set at $2 million. Both men were arrested at a home on the 800 block of Indiana Avenue this morning.

The police department confirms thatthe arrests of two women in the case are connected to the investigation of the Cheryl Drive murders.

Juanita Bustamante (48 years old) is charged with tampering with evidence. She was arrested on Adams Drive last week during the department's search for information in the case.

Maricela Bustamante (26 years old) was arrested at a home on the same block of Adams Drive earlier in the week on a charge of tampering with evidence.

Corpus Christi Police Department Chief Floyd Simpson credits Crime Stoppers tips for helping investigators make an arrest in this case. However, they need more information. If you can help, call 888-TIPS.

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1 month ago

Arrests Made In Deadly Shooting on Cheryl Drive

CORPUS CHRISTI -- Corpus Christi Police arrested 26-year-old Brendon Gaytan and 22-year-old Cruz Salazar overnight in connection with the Cheryl Drive shooting that left two young cousins dead.

Two-year-old Lillyanna Valent and 6-year-old Nevaeh Oliva died February 16 at a children's birthday party.

Someone fired dozens of shots inside the home, killing both girls.

Police charged Gaytan and Salazar with two counts of capital murder, each. Both have bonds set at $2 million. Both men were arrested at a home on the 800 block of Indiana Avenue this morning.

The Corpus Christi Police Department confirms there was a third arrest associated with the Cheryl Drive murders case. Juanita Bustamante (48 yrs old) is charged with tampering with evidence. She was arrested on Adams Drive last week during the department's search for information in the case.

Corpus Christi Police Department Chief Floyd Simpson credits Crime Stoppers tips for helping investigators make an arrest in this case. However, they need more information. If you can help, call 888-TIPS.

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2 months ago

Parents Tearfully Ask for Information in Double Murder

CORPUS CHRISTI - The Corpus Christi Police Department isn't saying anything about the murders of two children at a home on Cheryl Drive this weekend. Instead, officials are letting the parents do the talking, in an effort to convince the shooter to surrender or for someone to provide a tip that can lead to an arrest.

The parents of 6-year-old Neveah Oliva and 2-year-old Lillyanna Valent spoke tearfully to the media in a plea for help.

"If you're watching I forgive you. You wanna know why? 'Cause that's what God would want me to do... is forgive you. I have to wake up without my baby. And I just wanna wake up from this nightmare and look on the side of me and see my baby next to me, but I can't," said Margaret Oliva as a she clutched a pillow in the news conference. "I pray that the Lord gives us strength because this is something nobody should ever have to endure."

Lillyanna's mother described the horror of what her family and other children witnessed that night. "They shot my baby in her head. I'll never forget what I saw that night. My baby took in my last breath that I gave to her hoping I can keep her alive," said Ashley Leal.

Investigators have said nothing at all about this case. There's no indication of a motive for someone to find the need to open fire on a family celebrating the birthday's of Lillyanna and her brother.

Both sets of parents insist they have no idea why anyone would want to harm them.

If you have any information on these murders, call Crime Stoppers at 888-TIPS, or submit a tip online at www.888tips.com. All tipsters can remain anonymous.

The Corpus Christi Police Department is hosting a town hall meeting at 6pm inside Fannin Elementary to discuss crime within the neighborhood. The parents of the slain children are there as well.

They've received a huge outpouring of support from the community looking to help them provide funerals and headstones for both girls. A member of Valent's family tells us a portion of the donations they've recieved will also go towards the family of Greg Martinez, a 6-year-old accidentally run-over in his family's driveway over the weekend.

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2 months ago

Parents Plea for Information in Fatal Shooting of 2 Cousins

CORPUS CHRISTI - The parents of 6-year-old Navaeh Oliva and 2-year-old Lillyanna Valent are asking the person responsible for Sunday night's shooting on Cheryl Drive to turn themselves in.

The cousins were hit when gunfire erupted outside a family gathering to celebrate the birthdays of Lillyanna and her brother.

"Every year I am going to have to remember my daughter's death anniversary on my son's birthday. It'll never be the same," said Lillyanna's mother.

According to the family, the candles had just been lit on the boy's birthday cake when bullets started flying into the home.

"They shot my baby in the head. My baby took in her last breath in my arms," said Lilliana's mother. She tried to revive her baby while all the other children at the party watched in shock.

Naveah's father said, "If you are watching out there. Feel the guilt. Please come forward." Her mother said, "If you are watching I forgive you. Because that's what God would want me to do. I just want to wake up from this nightmare."

Police have not released any information on a possible motive for the shooting. Both sets of parents say there's no reason for anyone to shoot at the home. They insist they don't have an ongoing problem with anyone in the community.

The community has come together to raise money to help cover the familys' cost for the funerals.

If you have any information about this case, call Crime Stoppers at 888-TIPS, or submit a tip online at www.888tips.com.

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2 months ago

Friends Host Barbecue Fundraiser For Slain Child's Family

CORPUS CHRISTI -- Dozens of people showed up to a neighborhood barbecue on Baldwin and Lynch Streets today in support of the family of 6-year-old Naveah Oliva.

She was one of two young children who were killed in a shooting on Cheryl Street this week.

Many of the people who showed up to buy burgers and drinks were strangers who just wanted to help the family.

Naveah's mother and father showed up to today's event.

Her father said the family is just trying to be strong for their two surviving children.

He said that they both witnessed the entire ordeal and knew their sister was dying.

The family is busy making funeral arrangements, but will have help from family, friends and strangers who donated at the event.

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2 months ago

BBQ Benefit for Families of Slain Girls

CORPUS CHRISTI - There's a significant turnout at a barbecue benefit for the families of two little girls killed in a shooting. The event is taking place in an empty lot a the corner of Baldwin and Lynch until the food runs out.

Naveah Oliva and Lillyanna Valent, ages 6 and 2 years old, were shot and killed at a home on Cheryl Drive during a birthday party.

Police have only said witnesses reported seeing a man wearing a black hoodie outside the home. Officers spent Sunday night interviewing neighbors in an attempt to piece together what happened.

The front porch of the home is riddled with bullet holes. A large memorial is already in place outside the home that is off limits to the family during the investigation.

If you have any information, call Crimestoppers at 888-TIPS.

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2 months ago

Community Mourns Deadly Birthday Party Shooting

CORPUS CHRISTI -- Two little girls died in what police say is not an accident, but a deliberate shooting and tonight they're searching for the gunman.

Neveah Oliva and Lily Anna Valent both died after being shot at a family birthday party late Sunday night.

Police aren't sharing much right now, they don't have a suspect named and there's not a lot of information being released. They tell us they began searching last night for a man wearing a black hoodie and shorts and he may have left in a two door car.

The home is riddled with bullet holes and it looks like all this violence actually happened at a child's birthday party.

A pinata from the fun is still strewn in the front yard, a reminder that what started as a child's party, ended in absolute tragedy.

"The young dad was screaming where's the ambulance, where's the ambulance," neighbor David Hernandez described.

His first thought the chaos might be fireworks. "When I found it was bullet shots, I thought there was 8, come to find out there was 27, so it happened that fast," he said.

Chris Garza lives nearby, he also heard the gunshots and rushed over to find out more. He ended up picking up the father of 6-year-old Nevaeh Oliva and giving him a short ride to a family members house.

"He said 'they shot my baby girl, they blew her head off,'" Garza told us.

Nevaeh's 7th birthday is a little more than a month away.

At Berlanga Elementary School today, the principal was getting ready to explain to students that 6-year-old Nevaeh will not be coming back. We're told CCISD is brought in counselors to help with that.

Lilly Anna turned 2-years-old just two weeks ago. A realative tells us it her birthday family gathered to celebrate.

Officers aren't sure if the shooting started in the home and moved outside or if the shooter fired rounds from outside.

The big question for many, though is who would do this at a child's birthday party?

The tragic outcome is hitting home for people who didn't even know the two little girls who came for a birthday party and left in an ambulance.

"I mean someone doesn't shoot 10 to 15 rounds just for fun," Garza said, "they shoot to kill someone and it just so happened that it killed two innocent children."

There is a growing memorial outside the home on Cheryl Drive tonight. Many mementos are being left by people who didn't even know the little girls.

Meanwhile, police announced a town hall meeting at Fannin Elementary to discuss the violence in the area. It will be Wednesday evening at 6 p.m. and the public is invited to attend.

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2 months ago

Two Children Dead After Late Night Shooting

CORPUS CHRISTI - Two children are dead this morning after a tragic late-night shooting.

The Corpus Christi Police Department has identified the victims as 2-year-old LillyAnna Valent and 6-year-old Nevaeh Oliva.

Investigators said it appeared to be drive-by shooting, with more than a dozen bullet holes in the front and side of the home.

Witnesses reported that a male suspect, with black shorts and a black hood, drove up in a two-door car and fired multiple rounds.

One neighbor said he thought he heard fireworks, but quickly realized it was something more serious when he heard screaming and crying coming from the home.

Police are still investigating the scene, and they're asking anyone with an anonymous tip to call 888-TIPS.

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