Big break in store clerk's killing

September 5, 2009 4:59:49 PM PDT
Police have a big break in the murder of a store clerk. Police have identified all three suspects and right now, one is already in custody. They're looking for the other two right now. Investigators are revealing more about the case and they say the men may be connected to several other robberies.

As customers went about their business Saturday outside the Siesta Food Mart on Aldine-Bender and Cotillion, there was a sense of relief.

"Hopefully justice is served and whatever happens," said customer Michael Avila.

It's a reaction to the news one suspect is in custody and two others identified in the murder of store clerk Joe Fernandez this past Monday.

"We worked five straight days and identifying witnesses that led us to a vehicle that led us to the three suspects," said Detective Michael Miller with the Houston Police Department.

Police say Dontreal Brown, who was already in custody on a separate crime, admitted his involvement in the case. Authorities say he, along with Vondra Joseph, the alleged shooter, and Nieman Nelson, are the ones shown on surveillance tape robbing the store the night Fernandez was killed.

Authorities say the public's help was crucial in identifying the suspects.

"I think they're outraged at the senseless killing of Mr. Fernandez, a family man, father of two kids," said Detective Miller. "Of course, his son was shot and killed earlier this year."

Police say they have linked the suspects to at least seven armed robberies in the Houston area, all bearing the same characteristics. They believe Vondra Joseph, known on the street as 'Gunplay,' was the mastermind behind all these crimes.

Like before, they are relying on the public's help to bring the two remaining suspects to justice.

"I just hope we bring this entire incident to a close," said Detective Miller. "The sooner, the better so we can put this matter behind us, most importantly for the family of Mr. Fernandez."

If you have any information in this case, you're asked to call Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS. You don't have to give your name and could earn a cash reward.

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