A wanted felon facing murder and attempted murder charges for allegedly gunning down two cousins in front of a Banning liquor store in 2018 was arrested in Mexico and is now awaiting extradition to Riverside County.
Brody Joseph Baca, 22, was arrested Wednesday in Puerto Peñasco, a Mexican fishing and resort city on the Gulf of California, and is now in custody at the Santa Cruz Detention Center in Nogales, Arizona, according to the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.
He was captured following a multi-agency operation comprising both U.S. and Mexican agencies. There was no immediate word on when he would be returned to California.
Baca was charged with murder and attempted murder about a week after allegedly shooting Dylan Artea, now 22, and his 18-year-old cousin, Alex Marcotte, on the evening of Dec. 28, 2018.
The victims had just exited 4 Bros Liquor at 310 E. Ramsey St. and were en route to a going-away party for a family friend bound for the military.
Marcotte suffered two gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead at a Palm Springs hospital that night.
Artea was shot once in the back. His mother, Kelly Blistan, told City News Service previously that the bullet exited his throat, prompting a nearly 12-hour surgery to fix the damage. The bullet also struck his spine, she said, leaving half of his body paralyzed.
“My son’s lucky he’s able to talk,” Blistan said.
Police allege Baca shot the pair following an argument in the parking lot and fled to Mexico before he could be arrested.
According to a declaration in support of arrest warrant prepared by Banning police Sgt. Mike Bennett, Baca’s friend, who was at the scene of the shooting, identified Baca to police. Bennett wrote in the document that the young man drove straight home after the shooting and told his mother, who called police.
Blistan said her son is still undergoing physical therapy and seeking out all options possible in order to regain the use of his lower body.
“He has sensation,” she said. “We’re not giving up.”
She has been his permanent caregiver since the shooting, a task that takes up most of her time.
“It’s a nightmare,” she said. “Every day is a struggle.”
Baca is a convicted felon who pleaded guilty to carrying a loaded stolen firearm about a month before the shooting, according to court records.