Polk County Sheriff's Office homicide detectives arrested a suspect in a gang related homicide investigation 12 hours after the murder of Juan Castillo and attempted murder of Juan's 11 year-old brother, Jake Castillo, which occurred on January 8, 2011, at 1707 West Parker Street in Lakeland.
"This arrest, like many, occurred rapidly, in part because a witness called law enforcement upon seeing the suspect information on a television news report," said Sheriff Grady Judd. "Once again a murderer was rapidly taken off our streets by Sheriff's homicide detectives because of teamwork with the Polk County community."
According to the affidavit, at approximately 2:50 pm, Saturday, January 8, 2011, suspect Alejandro Baez-Garcia, DOB 6-9-1992, of 1935 Oakhill Street in Lakeland, and 4 other occupants were riding in a GMC van. All 5 occupants in the van are in a gang.
Alejandro specifically said to the other occupants of the van, "Let's go find some northsiders." The driver drove east on West Parker Street where they encountered a bicyclist, Johnathan Rondon. Johnathan was wearing the rival gang colors. Johnathan was on his way to visit the victim, Juan Castillo, and his family. Alejandro told the driver to turn around. The driver made a U-turn and drove back west on West Parker Street. When the van approached 1707 West Parker Street, Alejandro opened the side door and shot multiple rounds from a small caliber handgun towards the residence, targeting Juan Castillo because of the rival gang colors he was wearing. Juan was shot and pronounced dead at the scene.
Juan's younger brother, Jake Castillo, DOB 12/19/1999, was also shot and is in critical condition at Tampa General Hospital. The GMC van with Alejandro and the 4 other occupants fled the scene.
Deputies quickly identified Alejandro Baez-Garcia and located him, placing him under arrest without incident. Alejandro confessed and was charged with First Degree Murder.