A Las Vegas landlord in Nevada reportedly shot three tenants, killing two that were women, to avoid an eviction process after an argument occurred over unpaid rent, the Associated Press reported.
In court, Chief Deputy District Attorney Tim Fattig said homeowner Arnoldo Lozano-Sanchez, 78, “wanted to handle it, quote-unquote, ‘his way.'” Police arrived at Lozano-Sanchez’s property early Tuesday and found one woman dead outside and the other female tenant dead in a bedroom.
A male tenant was shot nine times by Lozano-Sanchez and he remains hospitalized in critical condition. Now, Lozano-Sanchez is jailed without bail per the judge’s decision as he awaits arraignment. He faces murder and attempted murder charges.
Another tenant, Carlos Lopez, was named in a police report and was in the home during the shooting but did not get shot, Fattig said.
“The surviving roommate heard and saw the defendant enter into another bedroom in the house, and he heard cries for help from the occupants and thereafter heard the defendant shoot them,” Fattig detailed to the judge. “He also saw the defendant exit that bedroom, smiling.”
Lozano-Sanchez told a witness that “he didn’t want to go through the eviction process,” Fattig said Wednesday.
He “made statements about the victims not paying rent and that he was certainly upset about it,” Fattig said.
Police reported arriving at his small home to find the wounded man stumbling out the front door.
He is expected to survive, police said.
Lozano-Sanchez refused to speak with police after his arrest. A police report obtained by the Las Vegas Review-Journal said he told a witness, Adria Ortega, several days ago that he was angry about his tenants not paying rent.
“Ortega suggested Lozano go to court to evict the people living inside his home. Lozano Sanchez told the witness he would ‘handle it his way,'” the report said.
Lopez told police that he saw Lozano-Sanchez go into a bedroom where a woman pleaded for her life, multiple gunshots were fired and the wounded man ran out.
The names of the victims, all in their 50s, were not immediately released.
Sarah Hawkins, a deputy public defender representing Lozano-Sanchez, protested that reading a police arrest statement in court did not amount to evidence. She lost a bid to have him freed on $10,000 bail and house arrest.
The judge set Lozano-Sanchez’s next court date for Monday.
Police say they had no immediate information linking the rent dispute with a nationwide eviction moratorium that expired last week but was reinstated for areas with high transmission of COVID-19, including Nevada.
The modified ban from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention faces legal challenges and lasts until Oct 3.
Fattig told the judge that Lozano-Sanchez asked a neighbor to help him dispose of the gun, but police found it in a nearby bush.