Crime & Courts

Couple shot to death in Shores apartment; twin arrested

Luis Alvarado-Meraz was last seen wearing a white sweatshirt, blue jeans and white tennis shoes, according to Wichita police.
Luis Alvarado-Meraz was last seen wearing a white sweatshirt, blue jeans and white tennis shoes, according to Wichita police. Courtesy photo

A young couple was shot to death in their apartment Wednesday night, and police confirmed just before noon on Thursday that the twin brother of one of the victims is now in custody.

Luis Alvarado-Meraz, 24, was wanted in connection with the fatal shooting of his twin brother, Manuel, and Manuel’s 22-year-old wife. He was arrested at about 11:30 a.m. Thursday in the 700 block of East Mount Vernon, police said.

“In speaking with family members, we learned that throughout the night friends and family had received texts from an individual … stating different things, making them concerned,” homicide Lt. Todd Ojile said.

Late Wednesday night, they went to the apartment in south Wichita that Luis shared with his twin brother and his twin’s wife. Family members called 911 at 12:18 a.m. Thursday.

Police reports state a relative found Manuel Alvarado-Meraz and his wife dead in the apartment. His wife’s name is being withheld pending the notification of relatives.

Interviews with neighbors led investigators to think the victims were shot at about 7 p.m. Wednesday. Neighbors reported hearing what may have been gun shots at about that time, Ojile said, but no one reported them to 911.

Investigators aren’t sure yet what prompted the shooting, Ojile said.

“We have spoken with family members,” he said. “They do not know what caused this.”

Yellow crime-scene tape brought three children bundled up against the morning cold to a halt as they were on their way to meet a school bus Thursday morning. They couldn’t resist looking across the faded grass east of the playground equipment to where a police officer stood guard in front of an entry way to apartments in the Shores complex southeast of Pawnee and Broadway.

A crime scene investigator walked out of an apartment where the couple was found shot to death.

“Was it drugs?” a woman asked as she peered out of a ground-floor window just east of where crime-scene tape cordoned off part of a large grassy commons between apartment buildings.

She said she was working a night shift at Wal-Mart, so she wasn’t home to see the police arrive. But break-ins are common in the area, she said, not wanting to give her name. She hears gunfire “all the time” in the four years she’s lived there, she said.

Asked why police did not alert the public earlier about an armed suspect on the loose following a double homicide, Ojile said investigators were still gathering information.

“We believe this to be an isolated incident involving family members,” Lt. James Espinoza said.

Wichita police have learned that Luis Alvarado-Meraz was stopped and questioned by police in Park City about an unrelated incident Wednesday night after the killings. Because he was not involved in the Park City incident, he was allowed to leave.

“He was released prior to us even knowing about the homicide,” Espinoza said.

Reach Stan Finger at 316-268-6437 or Follow him on Twitter: @StanFinger.