Another man arrested in connection to fatal shooting in west Phoenix

·4 min read
Phoenix police car
Phoenix police car

Police say they have arrested a second man in connection to the Jan. 18 shooting of a teen in a west Phoenix marijuana deal-turned-robbery.

Anthony R. Sera-Ballestero, 19, of Phoenix, was booked Tuesday and charged on suspicion of first-degree murder in the shooting death of Aaron Joseph Hernandez, according to police and charging documents. Sera-Ballestero remains in custody with no bond issued, according to county jail records.

Robert Alexis Hernandez, 19, of Phoenix, was charged in late January with first-degree murder in connection to Aaron Hernandez’s shooting death, according to police and court documents. Robert Hernandez also remains in custody with no bond issued, according to jail records.

It is unclear whether the victim, Aaron Hernandez, or suspect Robert Hernandez are related.

Witnesses and video surveillance showed Sera-Ballestero and Robert Hernandez firing their guns at Aaron Hernandez while he was in or around his sedan, according to arrest records.

Calls to police at 2 locations for victim, suspect

At 8:14 p.m. on Jan. 18, officers responded to calls about a shooting and an injury near Indianola and North 80th avenues, according to charging documents.

A separate call came from Banner Estrella Medical Center on West Thomas Road about a gunshot victim, later identified as Robert Hernandez, court documents show. Hospital security said a dark-colored SUV with a covered license plate dropped Robert Hernandez off, court documents reveal.

Aaron Hernandez would be pronounced dead when officers found him with gunshot wounds to his neck and chest at Indianola Avenue, according to charging documents.

A parked white Chrysler 300 was also found on Indianola Avenue with multiple bullet holes, according to court documents.

A second unidentified victim was found at the shooting scene and a third victim fled but then spoke with officers, court documents said.

The victims were on Indianola Avenue to sell marijuana to an unknown person when Robert Hernandez entered the Chrysler, pointed a rifle-style handgun at the driver, Aaron Hernandez, and said either “Don’t move” or “Hey, bro,” charging documents detail.

One surviving victim grabbed Robert Hernandez’s firearm with multiple gunshots heard and both surviving victims fleeing the Chrysler, according to charging documents.

An unnamed witness said Robert Hernandez directed him to the scene of the shooting where he and Sera-Ballestero were inside a dark-colored SUV, according to court documents. Robert Hernandez and Sera-Ballestero entered the witness’s vehicle and then exited it, court documents mention. The witness then heard multiple gunshots, prompting him to flee, court documents added.

Cameras reportedly catch shooting unfold

Home video surveillance captured Sera-Ballestero exiting the witness vehicle along with Robert Hernandez who was seen entering the Chrysler through the rear passenger door, according to court documents. Robert Hernandez is seen in the Chrysler and then walks out with a handgun he points at the car before “muzzle flashes” are visible, charging documents said.

Sera-Ballestero is seen running to the front-driver seat and shooting several rounds with his handgun and firing multiple times at Aaron Hernandez as he walks out of the Chrysler until he collapses, charging documents detail.

Robert Hernandez and Sera-Ballestero fled on foot, surveillance video showed, according to charging documents.

Police collected a total 32 casings and cartridges at the scene, court documents noted.

Suspect linked to prior shooting

On Monday, Sera-Ballestero told police he was in the dark-colored SUV – revealed to be a Jeep – with Robert Hernandez, smoking marijuana and parked at the shooting scene, according to court documents. Sera-Ballestero told police he left the area and returned upon Robert Hernandez calling him, court documents said.

Investigators also linked Sera-Ballestero to a May 30 shooting involving property damage at the intersection of 69th and Clarendon avenues, charging documents reveal. Video surveillance showed him with a pistol during the May 30 shooting, according to charging documents. Facebook messages where he discussed discharging a firearm during the shooting were uncovered by investigators, the charging documents detail.

Sera-Ballestero was charged on suspicion of armed robbery with a deadly weapon, according to court records. Sera-Ballestero is also charged with possession of a weapon by a prohibited person. Because of a prior adjudication as a minor, Sera-Ballestero was prohibited from possessing a firearm.

Sera-Ballestero has a preliminary court hearing set for March 30, according to court records.

Robert Hernandez was also charged on suspicion of attempted robbery with a deadly weapon, possession of a weapon by a prohibited person, and kidnapping, court records show.

According to court documents, Robert Hernandez was jailed Jan. 18 after he it was found he had two felony warrants and was on probation.

A third man was named in the court documents as a suspect, but police on Thursday said he had not been charged in relation to the shooting. This individual, court documents show, had reportedly shot at Aaron Hernandez and fled on foot afterwards. When Robert Hernandez was arrested, police had not mentioned outstanding suspects.

Reach breaking news reporter Jose R. Gonzalez at or on Twitter @jrgzztx.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Another man arrested in connection to fatal shooting in west Phoenix