RIVERSIDE – A man accused of shooting and killing a Temecula resident in an unprovoked attack and then fleeing to Mexico was extradited back to the U.S. today and now sits in a Riverside County jail.
Jose Carmelo Torres, 30, is charged with first-degree murder with sentence-enhancing gun and great bodily injury allegations in the death of 37- year-old Michael Montanez in January 2008.
Torres, who allegedly has ties to a Fallbrook-based gang, is being held without bail at the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside.
According to sheriff’s investigators, on the afternoon of Jan. 13, 2008, Montanez returned to his residence at the Sage Canyon Apartments at 42220 Moraga Road after spending some time at a bar with three friends watching a football game.
Torres pulled up to the location around the same time and accosted Montanez, according to witnesses, leading to a brief and seemingly uneventful exchange between the two men.
However, investigators allege that as Montanez turned to walk away, Torres pulled out a handgun and shot the victim in the upper body, fatally wounding him.
Torres fled the location with several people.
According to the FBI, Torres headed to Tijuana, allegedly hiding out there while the investigation into the shooting began.
Within two weeks of the shooting, the District Attorney’s Office filed a criminal complaint against Torres. In December 2011, he was federally charged with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, resulting in a warrant for his arrest.
The Inland Regional Apprehension Team, comprised of local and federal agents, began an investigation that culminated in Mexican authorities arresting the defendant in Tijuana in July, according to the FBI.
Torres was flown to Los Angeles International Airport under guard and turned over to sheriff’s deputies at the airport, then transported to Riverside.
Torres is expected to be arraigned Friday.