Source: Review Journal
On Friday afternoon, nothing inside the McDonald’s at Losee Road and Cheyenne Avenue indicated that the night before had been one of chaos and terror filled with arguments, gunfire and death.
Customers filled the place. The flashing lights and crime scene tape from the night before were gone. There was nothing to show the last minutes when Crystal Lee Ledesma, 24, was alive.
Stray bullets flew past several patrons and employees inside the fast-food restaurant, out the drive-through window, past Ledesma’s friend and 5-year-old son. They landed in Ledesma’s head and chest while she was sitting in the passenger seat of her friend’s pickup waiting for food.
Miguel Cano, a 17-year-old who got into an altercation with another teen, was arrested and charged with murder with the use of a deadly weapon.
Although business continued as usual Friday at the restaurant, the lives of the victim’s family and the suspect’s relatives did not.
Ledesma left behind a son, husband and mother, Maria Cogburn, and the female friend who was with her during the shooting. The friend was not identified.
“It was just a random act of stupidity,” North Las Vegas police Lt. Joseph Forti said. “There were quite a few people in the restaurant at the time it occurred. It’s fortunate no one else was hit.”
McDonald’s owner Tom Arlt expressed regret for the death and said his company was paying for counseling for any employee who desired it.
“My heart goes out to the family, and I feel very sympathetic to the whole situation,” said Arlt, who has operated the restaurant for 11 years. He said nothing such as that has happened before.
Only a few blocks away is Cano’s home where his friends and family filed in and out Friday evening to comfort his parents.
Sylvia Cano, the suspect’s older sister, was teary-eyed as she talked about her brother, calling him a “good boy.”
“He never gave us any problems,” she said. “I don’t understand how this happened. These boys all live around here. We have been living here for 20 years. They grew up together. He just hung around the same people.”
The suspect was with six other teens at the time of the 9:35 p.m. incident at the 3229 Losee business. One of them, Ralph Sotelo, 16, was at the North Las Vegas Police Department on Friday afternoon picking up a vehicle confiscated by police during the investigation. The suspect fled the McDonald’s on Thursday in a sport utility vehicle, but it was not clear whether it was the vehicle Sotelo was picking up Friday.
When asked about his friend and what happened, he became emotional.
“I was just watching the news and they said, ’17-year-old Miguel Cano is in custody,’ ” said Sotelo, who was at the police station with his mother, who was upset and sympathetic.
“I feel for the mother (of the victim), for the (boy’s) family. I look at this and I think Ralph Sotelo (because it could be my child). I tell him all the time to stay at home. Maybe now he will stay in the house,” said Sotelo’s mother who spoke little English.
Meanwhile, Cano sat at the North Las Vegas Detention Center charged with murder. Police might ask the Clark County district attorney’s office to charge the other six boys.
Cano has no record of major offenses in the county, according to juvenile records. He was in trouble twice in 1988, once for a school disturbance and another time for loitering on the Strip after the 9 p.m. curfew. The district attorney reviewed the school disturbance and dismissed it. Cano was counseled by county Youth Services on the curfew violation.
He attended Bridger Middle and Mojave High schools until he dropped out, Sylvia Cano said.
“My mother thought it would be better if he got a GED (certificate) if he wasn’t going to take school seriously,” she said.
Police said two groups of teens gathered in the McDonald’s parking lot and an argument erupted. One of the boys, who had two friends with him, ran inside to get away from a gunman, who was accompanied by six friends.
The gunman followed the boy into the restaurant, pulled out a .22-caliber weapon and fired at least two rounds, witnesses told police. The bullets missed the intended target — the boy — and hit Ledesma. The suspect then fled, but he was apprehended about five hours later.
It was unclear whether the weapon had been found Friday, and Sylvia Cano said police had asked her family to call if they found a weapon in the house.
Sylvia Cano said police questioned several youths in connection with the shooting before coming to her home about 2:30 a.m. looking for her brother.
“Police kicked the door in and asked for him. He got up and they handcuffed him and wouldn’t let him talk to the family,” she said.
“We are shocked because he was really calm. I was getting ready to eat and give my baby a bath when he said he was going to 7-Eleven (Thursday night), and he came right back,” she said.
“I hope he didn’t do it.”