TEMPE, Ariz. — Two suspects were arrested in connection to the murder of a man who was found shot dead in the Arizona Mills Mall parking lot two weeks ago and the murder of another victim during a nearby shooting.
Zareek Batchelor and Quinshawn Hopkins, ages 19 and 20, respectively, were arrested on Thursday for their alleged roles in the Oct. 2 shooting death in the El Pollo Loco parking lot just outside the Tempe mall.
Both Batchelor and Hopkins are facing charges including first-degree murder, armed robbery with a deadly weapon and marijuana possession.
According to court documents, police responded to a call of a shooting at the El Pollo Loco parking lot around 8 p.m. on Oct. 2.
A witness told police that he and the victim were in the area to sell marijuana to someone who the victim met through Snapchat. The witness added that several people arrived in a car with dark-tinted windows and they were confronted by a man who exited the car and fired a gun at them, hitting and killing the victim.
During the investigation, Tempe police were called for a shooting that happened at Sanctuary on Broadway, a nearby apartment complex. A witness in that shooting told police that he was with two other people and they were meeting with a man to sell marijuana. The transaction was also set up through Snapchat. The witness said several men confronted them at the car and fired on him, hitting and killing the victim and injuring a second man.
Police initially said it didn't appear that the shootings were connected.
Batchelor was contacted as being associated with the car involved in the second shooting and phone records showed his phone was also in the area of El Pollo Loco at the time of the first shooting.
The victim who survived the second shooting pulled Hopkins out of a photographic lineup and identified him as the man who approached their vehicle when the shooting occurred.
A search of the cell phone of the witness in the second shooting found that the witness was in contact with Hopkins through Snapchat. Both men were also found to be associated with each other at a Chandler home where the car involved in the first shooting was seen.
Hopkins admitted to being at the El Pollo Loco parking lot in order for Batchelor to meet with someone to buy marijuana. Hopkins said the people who they were meeting with started firing at Batchelor and he fired back.
Hopkins also admitted to meeting with three other people in the nearby apartment complex where the second shooting occurred. He said he got into their car and one of the people inside shot at him. He said he was able to move away from the shot but began firing back at the car as he left.
Batchelor said they wanted to rob the victims of their marijuana because they didn't have enough money to buy it.
Batchelor was ordered to post a $500,000 bond and is set to appear in court on Oct. 24. Hopkins was set to post a $1 million bond and will appear the same day.