Man in Virginia murder-suicide suspected of killing girlfriend, 2 kids was convicted MS-13 gang member

Jose Iraheta Palacios had been deported after serving 2 years in Virginia state prison on 2015 charges

A man in Virginia suspected of murdering his girlfriend and her two children before jumping to his death was a convicted MS-13 gang member who had been living in the U.S. illegally, according to a report. 

Records obtained by Fox 5 DC show that 37-year-old Jose Iraheta Palacios – nicknamed "Little Crazy" – pleaded guilty in Fairfax County Circuit Court in 2015 to human trafficking, gang recruitment of a juvenile and three counts of gang participation and was sentenced to nine years.

That sentence would have kept him behind bars until 2024 – but a judge suspended seven years. Iraheta Palacios served two years in state prison and was deported – though later made it back into the U.S. 

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Officers next encountered Iraheta Palacios around 6 a.m. Saturday sitting on top of a parking garage on Democracy Drive in Reston Town Center in Herndon, Va., and threatening to jump. An affidavit and police radio transmission revealed he told officers he killed his girlfriend, Claudia Menjivar, and her children after arguing over infidelity.

Officers attempted to talk Iraheta Palacios off the ledge for nearly an hour before he ultimately jumped and died from the fall.

Police then raced to Menjivar’s apartment on Florida Avenue to find her and the children all had been killed.

Fairfax County Police had initially received reports about a man experiencing a mental health crisis. Herndon Police also responded to the incident and said autopsies have been completed for the woman and two children, confirming all three deaths classified as homicides.

Authorities have not disclosed any cause of death but did say there were no reports about gunshots.

Jose Angel Iraheta Palacios was arrested in 2015 over MS-13 gang initiation. 

Jose Angel Iraheta Palacios was arrested in 2015 over MS-13 gang initiation.  (Manassas City Police Department)

"I don’t know why they let him out," the biological father of the two children, who did not want his name published, told Fox 5 of the alleged killer.

He said his son was 9 and his daughter would have celebrated her 10th birthday the same day she was found dead. The man said he did not know his children’s suspected killer.

Multiple sources told Fox 5 that Iraheta Palacios had been living in the country illegally. 

In 2015, Manassas police – who said at the time that Iraheta Palacios was known by the nickname "Little Crazy" – revealed that he and three others were arrested after "a nearly three-month-long investigation into an incident involving the assault of a fifteen-year-old female of Manassas, Va. by members of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) street gang during a gang initiation ritual on November 14, 2014."

Records show he was facing multiple charges, including human trafficking, nine counts of gang participation, two counts of gang recruitment, three counts of conspiracy to cause a juvenile to assist in the distribution of marijuana, and conspiracy to distribute marijuana. 

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He was also charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor, aiding illicit sexual intercourse, use of a vehicle to promote unlawful sexual intercourse, threatening force to encourage gang participation and obstruction of justice, according to the station.