The news that two men had been gunned down Sunday night at an apartment building shocked many residents in Denton, especially because it marked the third and fourth killings in the North Texas city in just more than a week.
Denton Police Officer Orlando Hinojosa said Monday that up until Dec. 13 the city had not had a single murder all year.
But on Dec. 13 officers found 27-year-old Maria Isabel Romero Medina beaten to death inside Sanchez Insurance and Tax. Authorities continue to look for Medina’s ex-boyfriend Ricardo Martinez, who is charged with her murder and is believed to have fled to Mexico with the couple’s 4-year-old son.
Just two days later, on Dec. 15, officers in Denton responded to the 1200 block of Paco Trail, where 21 year-old Jimmy Castro-Almazan had been shot and would later die at the hospital. A 16 year-old who was believed to have some sort of confrontation with the victim surrendered to police in connection to that crime.
Then, on Sunday night, officers found two men shot and killed at the Castle Rock at Denton apartments near the University of North Texas.
Hinojosa said the two men were suspected of breaking into an apartment in an attempted robbery when the inhabitants, who suffered injuries that were not life threatening, shot and killed them. A third suspect in the alleged break-in is still on the loose and may be injured.
Hinojosa said police don’t believe there’s reason for the public to be fearful in these circumstances. While the four killings came very close to one another, there doesn't appear to be any indication of a larger issue or threat, he said.
Several residents of Denton told NBC 5 Monday that the burst of crimes is concerning and isn’t something that you generally see in the college community.
One Denton resident, who wasn’t identified for this story, said, “It kind of does scare you a little bit, but things happen.”