Arizona woman fatally shot in Phoenix, now her accused co-conspirator faces murder charges

On the morning of Sept. 25, 2023, Phoenix Police followed Omar Rivas into this industrial lot near 2nd Avenue and Broadway Road in South Phoenix after he was speeding from an accused home invasion.
On the morning of Sept. 25, 2023, Phoenix Police followed Omar Rivas into this industrial lot near 2nd Avenue and Broadway Road in South Phoenix after he was speeding from an accused home invasion.

A man was charged with first degree murder after his accused co-conspirator of a South Phoenix home invasion died on Monday.

Court documents show that the incident that led to police chasing a car and finding two people shot, one fatally, in it Monday morning stemmed from an exchange of sex for money.

Around 2:15 a.m. Monday, Phoenix police were on routine patrol in the area of Central Avenue and East Carter Road, south of Southern Avenue. At that time, they heard gunshots east of their direction, according to court documents.

Shortly after police heard the gunshots, they saw a black Chrysler speeding and leaving the area, court documents show. Police followed the car and tried to initiate a traffic stop, but the car continued for several blocks without stopping.

The car finally stopped and pulled into an industrial lot near 2nd Avenue and Broadway Road. The car drove through the lot and collided with a stack of wooden pallets, court documents show.

After crashing the car, the driver, later identified as 23-year-old Omar Jaquez Rivas, got out and started to run. According to court documents, police saw Rivas throw a semiautomatic handgun onto the ground as officers chased him.

Officers were able to take him into custody and retrieved the handgun.

When police approached the Chrysler, they found Ricardo Mendoza Sanchez sitting in the front passenger seat with a gunshot wound to the leg, court documents show. Police found a second semiautomatic handgun on the floor near Sanchez's feet.

Sanchez was transported to a hospital and remained in stable condition.

In the backseat behind Sanchez, police found Mia Padilla, 19, with multiple gunshot wounds to her lower body. Padilla was transported to the hospital where she died from her injuries.

Car chase linked to reported armed robbery and home invasion

While police were dealing with the passengers of the Chrysler, additional officers were dispatched to an armed robbery and home invasion call near 7th Street and Carter Road, according to court documents.

Upon arrival, officers contacted a man who said he was at his house with a friend, Padilla. Then two armed men, Rivas and Sanchez, entered his house and one pistol-whipped the man in the face, according to court documents.

The man told police he went to the back of his house as both intruders chased after him. He went to his bedroom and pulled out his AK-47 semi-automatic rifle and shot at them, according to court documents. He then chased the men out of his house, along the sideyard, and into the front driveway of the main house, all while continuously shooting his rifle, court documents show.

Rivas, Sanchez, and Padilla got into the black Chrysler and started to drive westbound on Carter Road toward Central Avenue. The resident told police that he fired his rifle at the car as it drove away from his house, according to court documents.

The man told police he believed the two men were attempting to rob him and that Padilla had set him up for the home invasion.

Police observed multiple pistol and rifle casings in the driveway and backyard of the house, court documents show.

A set up

In a post-Miranda interview, court documents show that the resident admitted to police that he had solicited Padilla for prostitution at 27th Avenue and Indian School Road. He told police that he gave the woman his home address for them to meet and have sexual intercourse.

Court documents show that after 1 a.m. Padilla arrived at his house, the two engaged in intercourse and after he paid her, she left.

Around 45 minutes later, the resident said he received a text from Padilla saying she left something at his house. Once she got to the house and left again, the resident said that Rivas and Sanchez appeared and showed handguns, according to court documents.

He told police he attempted to call 911 but that was when he was pistol-whipped. He said he felt that Rivas restricted his movements by pointing a firearm at him.

The man told police that a gun battle ensued after he obtained the AK-47 rifle, court documents show. He said he felt his life was in danger by the actions of Rivas and Sanchez.

Court documents show that the man told police Padilla's name as he was ashamed of soliciting a prostitute.

After being advised of his Miranda warnings, Rivas refused to answer questions in a police interview and asked for legal representation.

It was not clear in court documents how Padilla was shot or where she was prior to getting into the car before they left the area.

In addition to first degree murder, Rivas was charged with armed robbery, kidnapping, burglary in the first degree, aggravated assault, possession of a weapon by a prohibited possessor, and unlawful flight from law enforcement.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: First-degree murder charges for man accused of south Phoenix break-in