February 11, 2014

Parents recall Steckline homicide victim; police say business targeted

Tuesday was a day of grief at the Flores family home in Derby. But Jose Flores’ face lit up as he talked about a favorite memory of his son, Daniel.

Tuesday was a day of grief at the Flores family home in Derby. But Jose Flores’ face lit up as he talked about a favorite memory of his son, Daniel.

Not surprisingly, it had everything to do with K-State sports.

Jose Flores, 52, recalled a phone call from Daniel Flores, then a student at Kansas State University. An excited Daniel Flores told his father: “Dad, guess what I’m getting ready to do?” Daniel Flores was informing his father that he was about to storm the basketball court with a throng of other students. It was Jan. 30, 2008. K-State beat No. 2 University of Kansas, 84-75.

Earlier Tuesday, in a briefing room at Wichita’s City Hall, police disclosed that Daniel Flores was the city’s latest homicide victim. Lt. Todd Ojile told reporters that whoever killed Flores, a 25-year-old employee of Steckline Communications, was targeting the business and was “there for a reason.”

Asked for clarification of what “targeted” meant, police Capt. Brent Allred said later Tuesday, “We believe this was not just a random act.” The killer was focused on “someone or something at that business,” Allred said.

Ojile, head of the homicide unit, said police had talked to several people but had no leads on a suspect and no one is in custody.

By Tuesday evening, police had no updates on the case.

There had been no recent problems at the business, Ojile said.

What’s not clear, he said, is whether the killer was specifically targeting Flores, whose body was found with blunt-force injuries in the basement area of the offices. The business is at 1632 S. Maize Road, just south of Kellogg.

Ojile wouldn’t say how the killer inflicted the injuries.

Ojile gave this account: The initial emergency call, around 8 a.m. Monday, involved a report of what was initially thought to be a “cutting.” Officers found Flores in the basement area, where there appeared to have been a struggle where the killing occurred. Upstairs, investigators found disturbances in at least one office. Initially, two employees thought there might have been a burglary. When they walked downstairs, they found Flores. He was on the floor of a foyer area of the basement.

Another business besides Steckline Communications is housed in the offices, Ojile said. Steckline operates radio stations and an agricultural network.

Flores was working Sunday evening and was due to get off later that night, Ojile said. Flores was usually the last person to leave the business. Police think the killing occurred after 8 p.m. Sunday.

Flores had been employed at the offices about a year. He helped take care of computer equipment and audio equipment for taped broadcasts. Flores made sure the automated system was operating for broadcasts through the night and also had done some broadcasting, Ojile said.

Officers continued to document the crime scene Tuesday.

The business has numerous doors, on the upper and lower floors, but no security cameras, Ojile said. Investigators didn’t find any sign that someone forced their way in. It’s not clear how the killer got in.

An autopsy was conducted.

Ojile asked that anyone with information for investigators call detectives at 316-268-4181 or Crime Stoppers at 316-267-2111.

Flores’ death is the city’s third homicide of the year.

At his Derby home on Tuesday afternoon, his parents, Jose and Laura Flores, described their son as a huge K-State sports fan. He went to all kinds of games, not just football and men’s basketball. He attended women’s basketball and volleyball games.

“I think he liked the atmosphere,” his father said.

“The game could even be lopsided and Daniel would still want to stay.”

What he really wanted to do in his career was be a radio sports announcer. He got to do it at K-State, where he graduated with a major in sociology and a minor in mass communications. He worked for the student radio station. He got to experience the Cotton Bowl with other sports journalists.

His parents thought it was fitting that Daniel, the oldest of three children, wore K-State purple on his Facebook page.

“He wears purple every day,” Laura Flores said.

As a student, he would get in line early to get a good seat near mid-court in the basketball arena.

On Monday night, hours after his body was found, K-State’s men’s basketball team beat a nationally ranked KU team in overtime.

“He would have watched it,” his father said.

If he could have gone to the game, would he have stormed the court?

“Definitely,” his father said.

“No question about it,” his mother added.

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