King County prosecutors say three men and a teenage boy lured a man to Bellevue’s Goldsmith Park, where he was ambushed, pistol-whipped and fatally shot over photos he’d taken of his girlfriend flashing gang signs.
Josue Flores, 18, of Bellevue, was found dead from multiple gunshot wounds at 12:30 a.m. on April 3 on a path in the park, located at 14475 N.E. 35th St., according to Bellevue police. Soon after officers arrived at the park, Flores’ older brother came looking for him — and ended up identifying Flores’ body, court records say.
This week, Bellevue police arrested the four suspects, who have all been charged with second-degree murder. The adult suspects are being held in the King County Jail, each in lieu of $2 million bail, jail records show. The fourth suspect, a 15-year-old boy, is being held in detention at the Youth Services Center, according to prosecutors.
Charged are Jesus Uriostegui, 24, of Renton; Cesar Pareja Ortega, 21, of Bellevue; Carlos Carillo Lopez, 19, of Bellevue; and the 15-year-old. Uriostegui, who has prior convictions for first-degree robbery and first-degree theft, was also charged with first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.
The Seattle Times generally does not name juvenile defendants unless they are charged as adults. While 16- and 17-year-olds charged with murder are automatically prosecuted as adults, those younger than 16 are charged in juvenile court and are then subject to what is known as a decline hearing, when a judge must decide whether to decline juvenile court jurisdiction and move the juvenile’s case to adult court.
King County prosecutors have filed notice seeking a decline hearing for the 15-year-old.
According to charging documents, Uriostegui, Pareja Ortega and the 15-year-old are all members of a street gang and Carillo Lopez was trying to join their gang at the time of Flores’ death.
Flores is a member of a rival gang, say charging papers.
According to the charges:
Flores took photos of his girlfriend displaying gang signs associated with his gang. On April 2, the girlfriend uploaded the photos to Snapchat and sent the pictures to the 15-year-old suspect. Soon after, the 15-year-old called her, asking, “Do you want problems with us?” That evening, Pareja Ortega called the girl and said his gang was going to kill her and Flores, the charges say.
After seeing the girlfriend’s Snapchat photos, the four suspects drove around Bellevue looking for her and Flores, but went to Everett when they couldn’t locate the couple. There, the four went into a convenience store. As they left the store, they got into a fight with another male, who they assumed was a member of a rival gang, the charges say. One or two of the four opened fire, shooting the male at a nearby apartment complex. (According to Everett police, the victim was a 17-year-old boy, who said he didn’t know why he had been shot.)
The charges say Uriostegui, Pareja Ortega, Carillo Lopez and the 15-year-old drove back to Bellevue and arrived at Goldsmith Park at midnight on April 3. After telling Flores to meet them for a fight, Carillo Lopez and the 15-year-old walked into the park and sat on a bench to wait for Flores while Uriostegui, armed with a silver revolver, and Pareja Ortega, armed with a .40-caliber handgun, hid in some nearby bushes.
When Flores arrived, Carillo Lopez came out of the bushes, put Flores in a headlock, pressed a gun to his head and ordered him to empty his pockets. Flores complied and pulled a machete out of his pants. Flores was pistol-whipped and was fatally shot after he fell to the ground.
The charges say Bellevue police detectives used video-surveillance footage and cellphone records to build their case against the four suspects. Officers also recovered a .40-caliber handgun hidden in Crossroad Park, which was later matched to shell casings and a bullet fragment found at the shooting scene.