Two deadly home invasions prompt different strategies on public information release

Posted at 6:55 PM, Apr 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-04 19:55:04-04

This week, two deadly home invasions were handled by two different agencies. Corpus Christi police responded to a home invasion on Capitan Drive last night, and the Nueces County Sheriff’s office leads the investigation on a double homicide Monday in the London Estates

Arturo Lopez, 39, and his wife Miriam, 38, were both shot during Monday’s home invasion on Balchuck Lane. The Sheriff’s Office is searching for four suspects.

On Capitan Drive, multiple people forced entry into an apartment early Wednesday morning and assaulted its inhabitants. One suspect was shot by police, another arrested, and a third suspect fled. 

While there are some similarities between the two crimes, there is difference in how investigators are speaking to the public about what they know. Each agency is taking a different approach when it comes to releasing information. 

Just over an hour after this morning’s home invasion and shooting, Police Chief Mike Markle was at the scene talking about the incident.

"What we do know at this time is that at about 12:30, multiple suspects entered a residence on 2300 Capitan here," he said. "It was a home invasion, they were armed. One suspect is DOA."

The Chief spoke for about four minutes, taking questions from the media during that time.

There was also a news conference about the murders of the couple on Balchuck Lane Monday. That happened about eight hours after the bodies were discovered. 

"Let me start out by saying that we will not be answering any questions at this time, we are just here to give you an update on the incident that occurred this morning," Captain Monica Rios said.

Carolyn Vaughn, a former City Council member who recently joined the County Commissioners Court, has worked with both CCPD and the Sheriff’s Office in her two roles. 

"Police did a good job releasing the information they could," she said about this week’s deadly home invasions. "My concern for the London one was there was nothing released. I understand you can’t release information that’s going to affect the case, but I think that community out there were really fearful."

Vaughn thinks the Sheriff’s Office should communicate more about Monday’s murders. 

"I think the whole city of Corpus Christi is concerned. They need to come out and say something. We obviously know we need to lock our doors. How bad do we think this is? Do we think it’s a gang, do we think it’s drug related? We got nothing," Vaughn said.

Late this afternoon, the Sheriff’s Office did come out and say something. Chief Deputy John Galvan gave KRIS 6 News updated information about the Balchuck case.

He says law enforcement agencies play a balancing act with what information they will release, taking into account public safety and the need to protect their investigation.

Chief Galvan says in this case, the Sheriff’s Office determined the public was not at imminent risk, and the investigation is very sensitive. He also said the London Estates murders were a very different situation from the Capitan home invasion. 

"I’m sure that if CCPD ran into the same scenario that we had out there at London, they probably would have been as restrictive as we have," Chief Galvan said. 

He adds that deputies determined the London homicides were isolated, and that the surrounding community was not at risk. 

"If there was some type of immediate danger or concern, of course we would have notified the community, but that wasn’t the case," he said. 

Sheriff Jim Kaelin also tells KRIS 6 News the Sheriff’s Office is handling the case exactly the way he would expect it to be handled.