McALLEN — Police have been tight-lipped about a murder investigation that has quietly unfolded over the past two months, resulting in five arrests since Saturday.
The fifth suspect, Avero Alaniz, 49, of McAllen, was arrested Wednesday after police issued a warrant for him. He was formally charged with capital murder Thursday for the death of Nicholas Anthony Bazan, 41.
The criminal complaint against the five suspects, which in addition to Alaniz include Alex Arevalo, Armando Adrian Arebalo, Roberta Martinez and Monica Ann Gomez, offers insight into Bazan’s death.
On June 19, McAllen Police received calls at approximately 12:42 a.m. of gunshots fired in the 2100 block of north Main Street, according to the complaint. Police then received a call from a homeowner in the 1400 block of W. Vine Avenue who heard an unknown man calling for help in his backyard.
Police arrived to find Bazan dead from a single gunshot wound, the front pockets of his pants turned inside out.
Surveillance camera footage from the area where gunshots were heard showed “a light colored van traveling south at the 2100 block of N. Main Street,” according to the complaint. The van “suddenly (slows) down” and Bazan is seen “exiting the driver’s side area of the van and then running away from the van.”
Over the course of the investigation, detectives learned that Bazan was with Arevalo and Alaniz at the Orchard Lounge in downtown McAllen on June 17. One of Bazan’s brothers told investigators Bazan had “a large ‘wad’ of cash on him” on June 18 and “a large amount of meth and cash” on June 16, according to the complaint.
The complaint also states Arevalo’s wife told investigators her husband and Alaniz “planned to rob (Bazan) because they had seen him with money at the Orchard Lounge and that they were going to split the money between them.” While the relationship between Bazan and the men is unknown from the complaint, the document reveals that Alaniz and Bazan had called one another on June 18 from approximately 11 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
During his interview with investigators, Arevalo admitted to shooting Bazan inside a van, according to the complaint, and confirmed that Martinez (his cousin), Alaniz, Gomez and Arebalo (Martinez’s boyfriend) were also in the van at that time.
What the criminal complaint does not address is when or how Bazan ended up in the van.
It only states that Arevalo and Alaniz had gone to a home in the 1200 block of Wisteria Avenue on the evening of June 18 “to get some meth,” a house that “is about four blocks away from where (Bazan’s) parents reside.”
Bazan left his parent’s house on foot at approximately 11:50 p.m. on June 18 and surveillance footage shows him “walking eastbound on Wisteria,” according to the complaint. It also states Gomez told investigators she was at the house in the 1200 block of Wisteria Avenue on the night of June 18 and Bazan was there.
McAllen Police have not confirmed whether drugs or money played a factor or were a motive in the case.
All five suspects have been charged with capital murder and each are being held on a $1 million bond.