Two Men Charged In 2015 Death Of 51-Year-Old Charles Warren Neazer, Police Say He Was Killed Because He Was Black
One of the suspects is in custody is awaiting trial for attempted murder in incidents involving several other Black people.
May 05, 2021 at 5:28 pm
Two men were formally charged with murder on Monday in the death of 51-year-old California man Charles Warren Neazer, who was killed while crossing the street in 2015, Newsweek reported. Neazer was killed because was Black, police say.
"Neazer was a resident of the City of Banning and while walking home on November 7, 2015 at approximately at 12:20 am, William Armendariz Jr. and Samuel Vasquez drove up next to Neazer, who was crossing the street at 5th Street and Williams Street, exited a vehicle, produced firearms and cowardly shot Neazer to death," police stated in a press release.
The investigation, which had gone cold within months after the killing, was reignited in 2019. Detectives said that's when they began reviewing evidence from multiple incidents in Banning, as well as other areas, and "started finding similarities and evidence that was similar to other crimes that were being perpetrated."
Banning Police Chief Matthew Hamner, who joined the department in 2019, reassigned patrol officers to work as investigators on the case.
"Hamner met with the veteran staff of the PD and listened to their ideas and concerns, it was decided that there was a need for additional Detectives to work through this complicated task," police said. "Chief Hamner had to make the difficult decision to remove officers from patrol and reassign them to the Detective Bureau, in order to effectively work these complicated murder investigations. This decision has been paying off and continues to do so."
COLD CASE HOMICIDE ARREST Case # 15-3345 On November 7, 2015 Officers of the Banning Police Department responded to the…
Posted by Banning Police Department on Monday, May 3, 2021
The two suspects in the killing of Neazer, who are believed to be gang members, were already in custody awaiting trial for allegedly committing several other violent crimes. Armendariz, 24, was previously convicted for stealing a vehicle. He was also accused of committing multiple murders from 2018 to 2020. Vasquez, the 22-year-old who is facing several charges of attempted murder and assault with a firearm, was also previously convicted of felony domestic abuse.
The case of Neazer is now submitted to the Riverside County District Attorney's Office for review, Patch reported. While Armendariz is being held without bail at the Byrd Detention Center in Riverside County, Vasquez is held on a $1 million bail at the same jail.
"Armendariz is in custody for the murder of four other victims and is awaiting trial," police said. "Vasquez is in custody and awaiting trial for attempt murder of several other African Americans."