Machete Slaying Suspect Arrested in Arizona

Vincent Garza Salas, 22, is suspected in the Nov. 5 killing of Vicente Carrera, 43

A man slain in San Diego’s Rolando community last week was killed with a machete, and the suspected killer was arrested in Arizona Thursday afternoon, officials confirmed.

On Nov. 5, at around 10 p.m., victim Vicente Carrera was killed at a home in the 6800 block of Waite Drive. One week later, the San Diego Police Department (SDPD) confirmed investigators had recovered the murder weapon – a machete – and said they had honed in on a suspect in the slaying.

On Thursday, SDPD officials said they were looking for 22-year-old Vincent Garza Salas, who also goes by the nickname, “Chente,” as the suspect in Carrera’s killing.

According to police, Salas is a heavy methamphetamine user with a violent streak. Police did not believe he was carrying firearms, but said Salas is known to carry knives and is considered armed and dangerous. Police released a photo of Salas Thursday, along with a brief description of him, asking anyone with information on his whereabouts to immediately contact authorities.

The SDPD confirmed very early Friday morning that Salas had been taken into custody around 3:30 p.m. Thursday by U.S. Marshals from the West Valley Violent Offender Task Force in Phoenix, Ariz.

U.S. Marshal Deputy Matt Hersey in Phoenix told NBC 7 Salas was booked into Maricopa County Jail. SDPD officials said he will eventually be extradited to San Diego to face charges on suspicion of murder, which could take days or even weeks.

Hersey said authorities developed information that led them to believe Salas was hiding out in Phoenix. U.S. Marshals set up surveillance in the areas where they believed the suspect was staying. Officials spotted Salas leaving a house on a skateboard and, after identifying him as the homicide suspect, were able to arrest him, Hersey said.

NBC 7 spoke with Salas’ brother and aunt on Thursday who said they were shocked to hear Salas is a suspect in Carrera’s killing.

They said Salas and Carrera were close friends and ran errands together on Nov. 5 -- the very day police believe Carrera was killed. The suspect's brother and aunt said they had not spoken to Salas since that day, and had no information on a possible motive.

The aunt and brother told NBC 7 they feel terrible for Carrera’s family, especially since they also know the victim's family very well.

“We were like family and for his family, just keep your heads up and I’m sorry this had to happen,” said the suspect's aunt, Misty, who declined to give her last name.

Misty said Carrera recently welcomed a new grandchild, so she knows his family must be grieving.

“We love him a lot. We are all hurting,” Misty told NBC 7. “He’s my nephew and the other one, we’ve known him almost 20 years and he’s like family too. You just want justice and whoever did it, you don’t want someone to get blamed that [doesn’t] need to get blamed for it."

Carrera’s lifeless body was discovered on Nov. 6 among clutter on the back patio of the home on Waite Drive, buried beneath clothing and boxes. The police department launched a homicide investigation following the grisly discovery.

SDPD Lt. Paul Rorrison said the victim had suffered blunt force trauma and it appeared some sort of weapon had been used in the homicide.

Several people were inside the home when police arrived. Those people were interviewed, but no arrests were made. Lt. Rorrison said Carrera did not live at the house in Rolando but was someone who was known to “frequent” the residence.

Residents said they had seen many people coming in and out of the house, and one neighbor told NBC 7 he heard screams coming from the home before police arrived.

The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information on this case should contact the SDPD’s Homicide Unit at (619) 531-2293 or Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.

Contact Us