The leader of a gang who allegedly orchestrated the fatal stabbing of a Tacoma man last year is now charged in the murder along with three others.
A warrant was issued Tuesday for Edenilson Alfaro, 23. Pierce County prosecutors have charged him with first-degree murder for the April 28 death of Samuel Cruces-Vazquez.
Co-defendants Jose Ayala Reyes, 24, and Cesar Chicas-Carballo, 30, have pleaded not guilty. Juan Jose Gaitan Vasquez, 26, is also charged but remains at large.
Police have not said why Cruces-Vazquez was targeted, but have said the group killed him as part of a gang initiation.
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Cruces-Vazquez, 25, was not believed to be involved with the gang.
Court records give this account:
Cruces-Vazquez left the restaurant where he worked and told a friend he was going for drinks.
He was found an hour later in the 7800 block of South Trafton Street, stabbed and run over. He died at the hospital.
Police found a knife outside the car, a disposable glove inside it and one of Ayala’s shoes wedged between the passenger seat and the vehicle frame.
Cruces-Vazquez was in the driver’s seat when someone outside the car stabbed him, according to surveillance footage from a nearby business.
Gaitan is accused of stabbing Cruces-Vazquez in the back of the head and the neck while he sat in the back seat.
When he was attacked, Cruces-Vazquez started kicking and stomped the gas pedal, moving the car and pinning Ayala’s leg between the car and a parked vehicle it hit.
Cellphone records placed Ayala at the scene, and he later confessed to detectives.
Ayala told police Alfaro, Gaitan and Chicas-Carballo came to his house that night to give him drugs to sell and collect money. That’s when they concocted a plan to kill Cruces-Vazquez as an initiation for Ayala to join the gang.
Alfaro is in jailed in California awaiting trial for a 2016 murder and attempted murder of two high school students.
Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653