911 Call Captures Fatal Shot, Voice Of Killer
Washington Post | Associated Press
May 18, 2011
CENTREVILLE, VA – The home invaders who fatally shot a heroic handyman as he defended a Centreville family last year were hiding in the garage of the mansion for about 30 minutes before the victim spotted them, Fairfax County police said Tuesday.
Police think four people were involved in the plot to break into the 9,000-square-foot house of a local business owner, and on Tuesday they released a photo of the late-1970s-model Toyota pickup the suspects used to flee the Compton Road area May 17, 2010.
On the first anniversary of the shooting death of Jose R. Cardona, 39, police also released excerpts from a 911 call made from the home. One or both suspects can be heard ordering the family members and Cardona to get “down” and “Get off me.” Graphic language and frightened screams for mercy can be heard, and in between those is the muffled fatal shot.
Detectives hope that someone recognizes the truck and matches it with the voices on the tape.
But police say they think they already know who their four suspects are.
Standing at an intersection not far from the crime scene, where the victims requested no media presence, homicide Detective Chester Toney said police had identified four “people of interest. My advice to them is to contact us before we contact you. They know who they are. And they know we know who they are.”
Toney would not say how police obtained the photo of the getaway truck, and police do not have the truck. But he said a third person waited in the truck while two men went inside the house. Toney said a fourth person was involved but not present. He said various local agencies as well as the U.S. Marshals Service and the Secret Service have been involved in trying to solve the slaying.
Although police have suspects in mind, “we still have a few pieces of the puzzle that we need to put together,” Toney said.
Cardona worked regularly for the family who lives on the 10-acre lot.
Police think the home may have been targeted because the homeowners run a number of businesses, including a check-cashing store in nearby Manassas that had been robbed a month earlier.
( Courtesy of Fairfax County Police Department / Handout ) - The Toyota pickup truck that was the actual getaway vehicle in the slaying
Cardona was a devout Christian who had two children in Guatemala. He lived in Manassas Park and met with members of a small church there, Mission Evangelica San Juan, four times a week.
Toney said Cardona had run an errand that morning and returned to find two men hiding in the garage. He alerted the family, and a man who lived in the house and his mother went into the garage. Cardona “could’ve chosen not to become involved with the confrontation,” Toney said, but instead he stayed and fought with the two armed men.
“Get away from my brother and my Mom!” Cardona told them. Sources said last year that Cardona wrestled a gun away from one man but that the other man turned his gun on the mother and threatened her if Cardona didn’t give the gun back. Cardona did.
One of the family members said Tuesday that “every single day, we think about Jose, or we think about how our life has changed forever. We’re on permanent heightened alert.” He said the family was in regular contact with Cardona’s family and planned a private memorial for Cardona on Tuesday.
Sketches of the suspects
The gunmen were described as black men between 25 and 40, about 5-foot-10, and wearing dark pants and work shirts.
Anyone with information about them is asked to call Crime Solvers at 866-411-TIPS. Callers may remain anonymous.