A 23-year-old man is facing a first-degree murder charge and other burglary-related offenses in connection to the shooting death of a 24-year-old mother during a home invasion robbery late Tuesday.
Mesa police arrested Wesley Wailes in connection with the event; a second suspect who wore dark clothing and a black ski mask has not been identified at this time and is still at large, police say.
Investigators say Wailes fatally shot Marialuisa Alvarez, who confronted him when Wailes and another intruder inside the residence, located in the 2700 block of South Date Street, began to steal her purse at about 10 p.m.
Alvarez died from a gunshot wound to the head; also injured was Jerry Patty, 69, who lived at the home near Country Club Drive and Guadalupe Road.
Sgt. Ed Wessing, a Mesa Police spokesperson, said Perry was wounded after he got in between the shooter and Alvarez — the girlfriend of Perry’s grandson, who also lived at the residence. A bullet grazed Perry’s stomach and elbow but struck Alvarez in the head and killed her. Alvarez’s three-year-old son and Perry’s wife also were in the home during the time of the crime, but not injured, police said.
Wailes, who was an acquaintance of Alvarez’s boyfriend, said he fired one shot from his handgun as Perry tried to block the path of his accomplice in an attempt to scare Perry.
After Wailes and his accomplice had fled from the home, Wailes was apprehended and arrested after he was bitten by a police canine officer who had discovered him hiding in a storage container in the 400 block of West Mendoza, near Country Club Drive and Baseline Road. Police recovered a semi-automatic handgun from inside the container.
Wailes told police he and his accomplice entered Perry’s home through an unlocked door to rob them; he said he was aware of the valuables inside the home and knew Alvarez’s boyfriend would not be at home.
Wailes, who also was arrested on suspicion of first-degree burglary, aggravated assault, misconduct involving weapons and endangerment in addition to murder, was booked into the Maricopa County Fourth Avenue Jail on Wednesday.
In 2006, Wailes was sentenced to four years and three months in prison for committing second-degree burglary and other burglary-related offenses in 2005. He was released in February, 2011. While in prison, Wailes faced 13 disciplinary actions for offenses that included disorderly conduct, drug possession and manufacturing and promoting prison contraband, according to prison records.
If anyone has any information about the shooting or the second suspect, they can call Mesa police at (480) 644-2211.
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