Earlier this summer, we blogged about a guy in a hoodie walking near Paularino School firing a gun into a moving car and striking the security guard behind the wheel, something we referred to as the opposite of a Costa Mesa drive-by. Today, police announced the arrests of Jose Jeremias Ayala (shown at right) and Denise Marie Enriquez, both of Santa Ana, in connection with the case.
Enriquez allegedly baited Wilfren Banejas-Rodriguez to meet her at the school so Ayala could murder the guard to settle a personal score.
On Wednesday, Costa Mesa Police detectives separately arrested 26-year-old Ayala and 30-year-old Enriquez on suspicion of attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder. Ayala was being held in lieu of $1 million bail at Orange County Jail, while Enriquez's bond was set at $500,000.
Banejas-Rodriguez was still in his security guard uniform after his shift ended in South County when he stopped his white Ford Expedition near the
parking lot of the school at 1060 Paularino Ave. around 11 p.m. July 16.
He noticed a man standing nearby wearing black clothing and with a hooded sweatshirt pulled tightly around his face. He seemed to be talking on a cell phone. Suddenly, the stranger appeared at the driver's side door and blasted away from short range. The 26-year-old security guard was later hospitalized with non-life threatening gunshot wounds to his
left arm, left shoulder/neck and left side of his torso. He is now out of the hospital and recovering.
Detectives were able to easily identify Enriquez as the woman Banejas-Rodriguez was coming to meet that night. They'd been friends and lovers but had not been in contact much recently. Then, she called out of the blue, asking Banejas-Rodriguez if he could give her and her daughter a ride from the apartments across from Paularino School, according to a Costa Mesa Police statement.
Enriquez had also been in a relationship with Ayala, and detectives believe the shooting was aimed at settling “a long simmering personal issue” between the two, according to the statement, which adds, “This apparently stemming from Ayala believing the victim had disrespected both he and a member of his family.”
Police do not believe Ayala or Banejas-Rodriguez have any gang affiliations, that “the motive in this shooting appears to be a personal, vindictive, grudge.”