By MICHAEL RUBINKAM
A fugitive wanted in the fatal shooting of three people, including two children who’d been playing with kittens in the backyard of their Pennsylvania home, has been captured in Philadelphia, federal officials said Wednesday.
The U.S. Marshals Service said Ivan Claudio Rosero, 27, was located at a park and taken into custody without incident Tuesday night. Two other suspects, including a minor, were arrested shortly after the May 30 slayings in Lebanon. Prosecutors said they intend to pursue the death penalty against Rosero and the other adult suspect.
Brothers Jesus and Sebastian Perez-Salome, ages 8 and 9, and a third victim were killed. A relative previously told The Associated Press the boys’ mother was working at a nearby convenience store when she heard gunfire and ran back home to find they had been shot. The boys were “very close” and always together playing, mostly with superhero figures, according to their uncle, Felix Muniz Torres.
The shooters apparently targeted the third person who was killed, 19-year-old Joshua Lugo-Perez, over what authorities have called “a previous argument.” He and the boys lived at the home where the shooting occurred, but Lugo-Perez was not related to them.
Rosero fled the shooting scene in a white BMW that investigators later linked to his girlfriend, prompting an intensive statewide search that led marshals to Philadelphia, authorities said. Rosero had keys to the BMW when he was arrested and the car was nearby, officials said.
Rosero told detectives he drove himself and the other shooters to the house in Lebanon, and he admitted he fired multiple shots, according to a news release from the Lebanon County District Attorney’s Office.
Lebanon County District Attorney Pier Hess Graf said she was grateful to have all of the suspects in custody.
“When children are killed, when a community is yet again endangered due to senseless gun violence, justice demands every ounce of effort possible,” she said.
Court records did not list attorneys for Rosero and the other suspects, Alex Torres Santos, 22, and a 16-year-old male. All three were charged with three counts of criminal homicide, conspiracy and other crimes, and remain in custody.
Rosero’s girlfriend, Tiffany Koziara, lied to investigators about her contact with him and booked a hotel room for herself and Rosero at the time authorities searched her house, according to the prosecutor’s office. She was charged with hindering the apprehension of a fugitive and locked up on $250,000 bail. Court records did not list an attorney for her.