Two more men have been charged in the death of a man believed to have been stabbed as part of his friend’s gang initiation.
Pierce County prosecutors on Tuesday charged Juan Jose Gaitan Vasquez, 26, and Cesar Chicas-Carballo, 30, with first-degree murder in the April 28 death of Samuel Cruces-Vazquez.
Warrants were issued for their arrest.
Jose Ayala Reyes, 24, pleaded not guilty in July to the same charge.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Detectives initially thought Ayala Reyes was the only person involved in the stabbing. But later, the detectives said surveillance video, receipts and witnesses linked Vasquez and Chicas-Carballo.
Charging papers give this account:
Cruces-Vazquez, 25, left the restaurant where he worked in Southcenter Mall and told a friend he was going to get drinks.
An hour later he was found stabbed outside his car in the 7800 block of South Trafton Street. Police believe he also was run over by a vehicle while lying in the street.
Cruces-Vazquez later died at Tacoma General Hospital from multiple stab wounds and blunt force trauma.
A knife was found on the ground outside his car, a disposable glove was found in the car and one of Ayala Reyes’ shoes was discovered wedged between the passenger door and the vehicle frame.
Investigators believe Ayala Reyes was riding in the passenger seat and Vasquez was in the backseat while Cruces-Vazquez drove.
Surveillance video from a nearby business shows the car stop in the street and a man walk to the driver’s side where Cruces-Vazquez is sitting. He then leaned forward as if striking the driver.
The car, which rolled forward out of the camera’s range as a man walked next to it, eventually hit a stopped car.
Vasquez allegedly was in the back seat and reached from behind to stab Cruces-Vazquez in the neck and head.
“Samuel began kicking and struck the accelerator, causing the car to begin driving,” according to court records. “The vehicle crashed and pinned Ayala Reyes’ leg between the car and the vehicle they crashed into.”
Detectives identified Ayala Reyes as a suspect and used cellphone records to confirm he was in the area at the time Cruces-Vazquez was killed.
Ayala lives in a mobile home park less than a mile from where Cruces-Vazquez’s body was found.
Ayala Reyes told investigators he stabbed his friend in the leg, but denied stabbing him elsewhere. He said the attack was part of his gang initiation.
“Jose states that it had to be Samuel that was killed,” according to charging documents.
A witness told investigators two men came to Ayala Reyes’ apartment that night, handed out disposable gloves and talked about killing the victim.
Receipts found in Ayala Reyes’ home showed he sent cash to Chicas-Carbello.
Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653