Two men accused of killing a York City father during a botched carjacking last month were already planning a second robbery-murder when police arrested them, court documents say.
After closing in on the pair at the conclusion of an elaborate surveillance operation, officers seized a sawed-off .22-caliber rifle, more than 400 live .22-caliber rounds and ski masks, according to charging documents.
Eric "Chucky" Camacho-Rodriguez, 19, of no fixed address, and Emanuel "Gordo" Rivera, 19, of 1427 Old Salem Road in West Manchester Township, remain in York County Prison without bail, charged with the May 28 homicide of Felipe Bernabe-Martinez outside his home in the 600 block of East South Street.
Police said Bernabe-Martinez resisted their robbery attempt and was fatally shot in the back with a .22-caliber bullet.
On Wednesday, York City detectives filed more charges against the men for allegedly planning a robbery that was supposed to end in murder.
Why kill? Asked why the men allegedly plotted to kill their intended robbery victim, York City Detective First Class Jeff Spence said, "Probably because they're thrill-seeking psychopaths."
Their plan "flies in the face of reason," he said.
"They wanted to be gang-bangers," Spence said. "They wanted to be something they probably really weren't."
"It speaks to their depravity," Lt. Tim Utley said of the purported scheme.
Camacho-Rodriguez and Rivera have not yet been arraigned on the new charges of conspiracy to commit homicide, attempted robbery and conspiracy to commit burglary. All are first-degree felonies.
More arrests: Spence said he expects detectives will be arresting several more people who are thought to have conspired with Camacho-Rodriguez and Rivera.
"We're actively trying to identify them and arrest them," he said. "It won't be long."
Camacho-Rodriguez, Rivera and several others
But they rethought the plan and instead focused on a middle-age man who lives in the city's west end, near Bantz Park. The defendants believed the man was selling marijuana and bootleg DVDs, documents state, and therefore might have money.
Police learned of the plan and set up an elaborate surveillance operation at locations where the would-be robbers planned to meet up, documents state.
Duty-bound: Spence said because police had been told Camacho-Rodriguez and Rivera planned to kill their intended victim, the officers conducting the surveillance stopped the men before they could get to the intended victim's home.
"We're duty-bound to protect life," he said. "We could have let them go further and had a stronger case against them, but then we'd be risking public safety."
Police knew the men were in possession of a gun and masks when they met at Bantz Park the evening of May 31, according to documents.
"But that's as far as I was comfortable with letting it go," Spence said.
Surrounded: Police from several agencies had surrounded Bantz Park and about 7:30 p.m. they converged on their targets, Utley said.
Officers arrested Rivera, but Camacho-Rodriguez ran and hid in a tree line along the Codorus Creek near Richland Avenue, the lieutenant said.
Police searched the wooded area and arrested Rivera about 45 minutes or an hour later, with help from Springettsbury Township's K-9 unit, Utley said. Also assisting in the surveillance and arrest were state police, members of the York County Drug Task Force and officers from a York City neighborhood-enforcement unit.
Connected: Around the time the surveillance operation was being planned, investigators learned Camacho-Rodriguez and Rivera had told at least one person they'd killed "a Mexican dude," documents state, apparently referring to Bernabe-Martinez.
Utley confirmed detectives are waiting to see if ballistics testing confirms the bullet that killed Bernabe-Martinez came from the gun seized from his alleged killers at Bantz Park.
Detectives still want to speak with people about both cases. Anyone with information is asked to call detectives at 849-2219, or call the city's anonymous crime tip line, 849-2204. Or anonymously text a tip to YORKTIPS at 847411.
-- Liz Evans Scolforo can also be reached at email@example.com.