Investigators were poring over the conflicting backgrounds Saturday of a Utah couple accused in a crime spree that killed two deputies, with federal authorities saying the 34-year-old man charged in the slayings has used at least two identities and has been deported from the United States twice in the past.
Sheriff’s officials have identified the suspect as Marcelo Marquez, but the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency said in a statement Saturday that his name actually is Luis Enrique Monroy-Bracamonte.
Monroy-Bracamonte was first deported to Mexico in 1997 following his arrest and conviction in Arizona for possession of narcotics for sale; he was arrested and returned to Mexico a second time in 2001.
ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice said the agency had filed an immigration detainer against him asking that he be turned over to federal authorities if and when he is released by local law enforcement.
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The chances of a release appear slim. Sheriff’s officials booked Monroy-Bracamonte into the Sacramento County jail early Saturday on two counts each of murder, attempted murder and carjacking. He was booked under the name Marcelo Marquez, which he gave authorities.
His wife, Janelle Marquez Monroy, 38, faces a count of attempted murder and two counts of carjacking.
Sheriff’s Sgt. Lisa Bowman, a department spokeswoman, said both suspects were cooperating with authorities, although investigators had no motive for the couple’s actions.
Both suspects are being held without bail, according to online jail records, and both are scheduled to make their first court appearances Tuesday afternoon in adjoining courtrooms inside the Main Jail building.
Investigators still are trying to determine what brought the couple to Sacramento and how a simple approach by deputies in a motel parking lot could have escalated into such violence.
It is unclear when he returned to the United States after his 2001 removal. Authorities said Monroy-Bracamonte had no convictions under the name Marcelo Marquez, which he was using at the time of Friday’s shootings.
There are indications that he used multiple identities. One friend who knew him only as “Tiger” said she believed his name was Julian Beltran, and a Facebook account using that name features photos of “Beltran” that match photos of the alleged shooter on Marcelo Marquez’s Facebook page.
On the “Beltran” page, one photo shows him with a belly tattoo declaring “Mexican Pride” and “Sinaloa” on his chest, and indicates he is from Culiacán, Sinaloa. Bowman said in a statement that authorities are looking into both the suspects’ backgrounds.
“We have taken and submitted fingerprints to the federal database for confirmation of their identity,” Bowman said. “Until we know otherwise, we believe them to be and will refer to them as the names they provided; Marcelo Marquez and Janelle Monroy.”
Monroy, whose Facebook pages – under at least two different names – indicate she attended high school in Phoenix and who is a U.S. citizen, has declined media requests for interviews; Marquez indicated he is willing to talk to reporters, but sheriff’s officials said he would not be made available Saturday as their homicide investigation continues.
‘A unified effort’
Sacramento County Assistant Chief Deputy District Attorney Rod Norgaard said numerous law enforcement agencies from Sacramento to Auburn were still working the investigation Saturday to determine exactly what, where and which charges will be filed against Monroy and Marquez.
“It’s a unified effort from the Placer County Sheriff’s Office, the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, the Sacramento Police Department, the Auburn Police Department and the Placer County District Attorney’s Office and the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office,” Norgaard said. “At some point, there will be a referral for criminal charges, and until then we can’t say much about it.”
Norgaard said “I’m sure a determination will be made at some point” between prosecutors in Placer and Sacramento counties on where to proceed first with murder charges on Marquez.
Norgaard declined to discuss booking information at the Sacramento County jail showing that Monroy is only being held on suspicion of of attempted murder and carjacking and not for murder.
“I can’t comment on that,” he said.
The couple are listed as being from the Salt Lake City suburb of West Valley, and sheriff’s officials said they are holding off on releasing booking photos for either while they seek potential witnesses in the case.
Marquez is suspected of being the triggerman in a crime spree that began at 10:22 a.m. Friday in a Motel 6 parking lot near the Arden Fair mall, where he allegedly shot and killed Sacramento sheriff’s Deputy Danny Oliver, 47, as the deputy approached a car Marquez and Monroy were in.
The couple, armed with an AR-15 rifle and at least two pistols, then allegedly took off and carjacked two other vehicles, shot a motorist who resisted giving up his car and fled to Auburn, authorities said. There, two Placer County deputies confronted them along a roadway and Marquez shot and killed Detective Michael Davis Jr. and wounded Deputy Jeff Davis, authorities say.
Marquez eventually holed up in a home in a residential neighborhood and was arrested Friday afternoon.
The couple were brought to Sacramento because the Sheriff’s Department here will take the lead in the investigation. Authorities said Friday that Monroy had a pistol in her purse, but they added that they do not believe she fired it during the rampage.
The motorist who was allegedly shot by Marquez when he resisted giving up his car, 38-year-old Anthony Holmes, was recovering at UC Davis Medical Center, where he was upgraded to fair condition on Saturday. Holmes was shot at least twice, once in the head, Sacramento County sheriff’s officials said.
‘An incredible shock’
On Saturday afternoon, officials conducted a solemn procession to escort the body of one slain officer from the Sacramento County Coroner’s Office to a Roseville funeral home.
About 25 patrol cars from the Sacramento and Placer county sheriff’s offices lined up near the coroner’s building at 48th Street and Broadway to transport the body of Michael Davis Jr. to the funeral home as officials begin preparing to bury two deputies killed in the line of duty.
Davis’ body was taken to the Chapel of the Valley funeral home on Vernon Street. In an interview, Placer County Sheriff Ed Bonner recalled Davis as a dedicated detective with “street smarts.”
“Some would call him gruff, but he was always one who would come in and say, ‘Boss, how are you doing?’ when I was down,” the sheriff said. “The job really wears on you. He was just a bright light when you were having a bad day.”
Davis, who would have turned 43 on Wednesday, was the father of four children and the son of a Riverside County deputy who died on the same day in the line of duty in 1988.
Bonner said he has met with Davis’ family several times since the shooting. His wife works for the department as an evidence technician, and his brother Jason is a sergeant there.
“They’re numb,” Bonner said. “This is such an incredible shock to try to process. It will take a long time.”
Davis was a motorcycle enthusiast who owned a Harley-Davidson and had been a detective for 10 years, with most of his time spent working homicides as part of a six-member crimes against persons unit.
In Utah, a Facebook friend of Janelle Monroy’s described the female suspect as the former manager of a Salt Lake City loan company who had been with her husband “for a long time.”
Mandy Draper said she worked with Monroy for about four months about three years ago and that she met the man identified as Marcelo Marquez on the few occasions he came into the office to see his wife and once at a party.
“He doesn’t speak English very well, and I don’t speak Spanish, so I didn’t communicate very well with him,” said Draper, 39, who still lives in the Salt Lake City area. “He was always really quiet, nice. She was, as far as I know, soft-spoken.”
Draper said she had been brought in to retrain Monroy at the Loyal Loans office in North Salt Lake City.
“She listened and did everything I told her,” Draper said.
According to Draper, Monroy “couldn’t have kids, so they were trying to help her sister untie her tubes so she could carry a baby for her.”
“It totally blows my mind,” Draper said, to hear that Monroy and Marquez have been accused in connection with the deaths of the two sheriff’s deputies.
“From what I knew of her and him, they were not that kind of people,” Draper said.
Draper said that Monroy introduced her husband only by his nickname – Tiger.
“That’s what she called him, Tiger,” Draper said. “She never called him by his first name. It was his nickname.”
‘Pretty quiet, pretty normal’
Draper said she once went to a bar with Monroy and Marquez and that she once invited the two of them over to her house for a barbecue.
“They came in two separate cars, her husband and her sister and brother,” Draper said. “Her sister and brother got in a fight, and me and Janelle went to the store, and when we came back they were all gone.”
Draper said that for the past three years, she has been in contact with Monroy only through Facebook. She said she occasionally “likes” Monroy’s postings and that she has seen that Monroy has played assorted games on the social networking site.
“I never talked to her again except to see her post stuff on Facebook,” Draper said. “I might like a post, but we never had much conversation. We were not that close of friends.”
Public records list Marquez’s address as a sprawling, gated complex of 486 units in Salt Lake City. Kathy Larson, who lives in an apartment facing the couple’s two-bedroom, two-bath unit, said they did nothing out of the ordinary. Larson said they hadn’t lived in the complex long, perhaps less than a year. She said saw them recently – perhaps a couple of weeks ago – in the laundry room.
“Nothing stood out; they were pretty quiet, pretty normal,” she said.
On Saturday, nobody answered at Marquez’s apartment door, which was covered in decorative plastic festooned with dancing skeletons.
Authorities say the couple were sitting in a car in the parking lot of Motel 6 when Oliver, a 15-year veteran of the department and a member of the problem-oriented policing team, approached the vehicle to see what they were doing.
There were no calls asking deputies to respond to the vehicle’s presence, meaning the pair were following a routine of trying to ferret out potential problems, something the tight-knit POP team does to try to reduce crime.
Criminal activity in the area of the motel, where one of the suspects was listed as a registered guest, has been at a high level in recent years, and one resident said the problems were noticeable.
Janette Moucks, an unemployed security officer, had been staying at the Motel 6 at the time of the shooting and stirred from her room around 10 a.m. to the sound of gunshots.
Moucks, 43, described the area as a major trouble spot.
“I’ve rented here a few times in the past,” she said in an interview Friday night. “It’s always had people hanging out in the back.
“I’ve seen some hand-to-hand transactions. That, and prostitution. You see a lot of girls late at night. I see them walking back and forth. It’s only obvious what they’re doing. It’s always been bad – rowdy, crowds, things of that nature. Loud parties.
“I stayed here a year ago for two months and there were always cops here,” Moucks continued. “I’ve seen probation come through here. I heard probation checks the roster at the hotel.”
Call The Bee’s Sam Stanton, (916) 321-1091.