Man arrested, accused of shooting tow truck driver

Police say Billy Wayne West Jr. allegedly shot Alfredo Palencia Friday night at the Village Apartments in Phoenix.

PHOENIX -  The Phoenix Police Department said a man has been arrested Monday, days after a tow truck driver was shot and killed on the job.

Alfredo Palencia, 26, was removing a vehicle from an apartment complex near 32nd and Hubbell streets Friday night when he was killed. The suspect fled the scene and police were not able to locate him initially. 

Police said 27-year-old Billy Wayne West Jr. turned himself in for the shooting Monday morning.

West shot Palencia while he was in the process of towing West's white Ford Expedition. The court documents said West attempted to release his car from the tow before fleeing the scene.

The apartment complex has surveillance cameras. In court documents obtained by 12 News, police say those cameras show West leaving a child family member's birthday party before he, "appears to remove a handgun from his waistband with his right hand and then point the weapon at the driver side window of the tow truck."

Palencia, who was 26 years old, was found shot and killed inside the truck’s cab.

West's two children both told detectives they saw their father shoot the tow truck driver in the head and leave.

Palencia was one of three people who died from gunshot wounds between Friday night and Saturday morning in Phoenix.

READ: Phoenix PD: 9 shootings, 3 dead, 9 injured over the weekend

Friends and family are mourning Palencia's death.

"He's someone who brought laughter to our company," Tow Go co-worker Tracy Miller said. "Everybody loved Alfredo. Alfredo could make anybody laugh. So, you can't be depressed around Alfredo. He was happy all the time.”

MORE: 'He brought laughter to our company': Friends mourn young tow truck operator killed on job

As for West, he didn't say much during his first appearance Monday morning. But after he was arrested, he told police: "He had no memory of what happened the night before. He claimed he had been drinking."

And when detectives showed West a surveillance video picture of the shooter, West "stated it looks like it could be me.”

West is set to appear back in court on Oct. 16.

Alfredo Palencia’s friends have family and created a GoFundMe page to support his family.

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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