A California man who allegedly fatally shot his ex-girlfriend in broad daylight last month before fleeing the country has been returned to the U.S. following his arrest in Mexico on Wednesday, authorities said.
Julio Cesar Rocha, 25, of Montlcair, is accused of shooting his 25-year-old ex-girlfriend Thalia Flores and a second unidentified male victim March 21 around 2:45 p.m. while the two were sitting in a vehicle in the parking lot of a discount store in Chino. Both communities are about 36 miles east of Los Angeles.
Flores died at the scene. The man, whose name was not released, walked to a nearby hospital where he's recovering from his gunshot wounds.
Rocha allegedly fled the scene and remained at large for more than a month, the Daily Bulletin reported. He was formally arrested at 4:30 p.m. after arriving at Los Angeles International Airport from Mexico, KTLA-TV reported.
The suspect was booked at the West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga on murder and attempted murder charges, the City of Chino Police Department said on Facebook.
Flores ended her seven-year relationship with Rocha just two months before her death and still lived in fear of him until that point, a sister of the victim, Bernice Flores, told the Daily Bulletin.
“He said himself so many times to other people, ‘If I can’t have her, no one will.’ ” Flores said, adding that her sister stayed in the relationship longer that she would have liked in fear that Rocha would hurt her or her family if they broke up.
Rocha was convicted on misdemeanor battery in 2016 and sentenced to 60 days in prison. He was originally charged with misdemeanor assault with a deadly weapon, but the charges were lowered in a plea deal, the Daily Bulletin reported.
Rocha was convicted of misdemeanor resisting or obstructing a peace officer in 2014. A second charge of misdemeanor battery was dropped in a plea deal, and Rocha was ordered to complete a 26-week anger management course, according to San Bernardino County Superior Court records. Rocha was later arrested and sentenced to 10 days behind bars for failing to complete the course.