43-year-old shot to death in Vineland

VINELAND, N.J. - October 11, 2009 The victim has been identified as 43-year-old Octavio Contreras of Vineland.

According to police, Contreras was sitting on the front porch of a home with some friends on 7th Street when they were approached by two Hispanic males. During that time, one of the men pointed a handgun at Contreras and demanded his money and other valuables.

During the encounter, the suspect then fired a single shot at Octavio's head striking him and killing him. The two suspects were able to make off with $60 and Contreras' cell phone.

The suspect who allegedly fired the weapon has been identified as 25-year-old John Ramirez. The suspect is a self admitted member of the Latin King Street Gang. The motive for the incident appears to be a random robbery. Police say no connection between Octavio and Ramirez has been found.

Police were originally called out to the scene at 1:59 a.m. Saturday by a Yellow Cab driver reporting a possible attempted robbery in the area of 7th & Montrose. The driver reported that a male subject attempted to get into his cab after he had picked up a customer. The driver did not let the subject in the cab and left the area and called police. The driver supplied a description of the subject

During this investigation, police noticed a man, later to be identified as Ramirez, running from the scene fitting the description the cab driver gave. The police began a foot chase with the man. As the chase went on, police were notified of the fatal shooting.

A handgun was recovered during the chase.

Ramirez then entered a home on Montrose Street. The house was surrounded by police and three persons of interest were detained by officers.

During the course of the investigation, a search warrant was conducted at 629 Montrose St. where the suspect had fled to. Evidence was collected linking the crime to the suspect.

Ramirez was charged with homicide, robbery, unlawful possession of a weapon, and related charges. Bail was set at $750,000. He was transferred to the Cumberland County Jail.

A second suspect is also being sought in connection with the incident. He was described as a Hispanic male wearing a grey or blue hood sweat shirt. The second suspect fled the scene on foot.

Crime Stoppers of Vineland is offering a reward of up to $1,000.00 for information leading to the identification and arrest of the second suspect. You may call Crime Stoppers anonymously and will be give a code number at 856-691-0345. You may also contact Det. Louis Negron at 856-691-4111 x 4155 with any information.

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