Two men, one from St. Paul and one from Minneapolis, have been charged with multiple crimes related to their alleged kidnapping of a St. Paul woman who was shot and left for dead in May Township.
According to court records, Luis Alfredo Cortez Mendoza, 23, of St. Paul, was charged with aiding and abetting attempted second-degree murder and aiding and abetting kidnapping. Angel Ignacio Sardina-Padilla, 32, was charged with aiding and abetting first-degree murder, aiding and abetting second-degree murder, and aiding and abetting kidnapping. The men were located and arrested by law enforcement on June 15 and June 18, respectively.
The men’s criminal complaints state that the woman, a 39-year-old from St. Paul, was found and likely saved by an Uber driver who had just dropped off a customer at a home on Arcola Trail North around 2:30 a.m. June 9. The man saw the woman lying on the ground and originally mistook her for an animal. When he realized the woman was a person and was shot, he put her in his vehicle and drove her toward Stillwater, where he could get cellphone signal to call 911. The woman was transported to Regions Hospital in critical condition, suffering from a gunshot wound to her chest.
The woman reportedly slipped in and out of unconsciousness for several days before she was able to make a statement to police. She reported to law enforcement that on June 8, she bought a handgun from Padilla for $400 but only could pay him $300 at the time of sale. Later in the day, however, she could not find the gun, and she sent a text message to Padilla to tell him the weapon was missing. Padilla and Mendoza are both allegedly members of the Surenos 13 gang, and the woman had been told Padilla’s nickname was “Diablo.”
After hearing that the gun was gone, Padilla and Mendoza allegedly came back to the woman’s home and demanded the rest of the money the woman owed or the gun returned. They brandished firearms, and Padilla reportedly forced two of the people in the home at the time to hold a scalding hot metal tool, burning their hands while he demanded to know where the gun was. According to the woman and the people from her apartment who were interviewed, Padilla was in charge and telling Mendoza what to do.
The men reportedly held the people in the home captive for several hours before forcing the woman to leave with them. They forced her to sit in the back of a car with no back seat and drove around the area for several hours, and they gave her a pill that induced unconsciousness. Eventually, the woman said, Padilla allegedly told Mendoza to take the woman home, but she fell into unconsciousness, and when she awoke, she was in a dark unknown area – the future scene of the shooting in May.
Mendoza allegedly told the woman to get out of the car, after which he shot at her three times, hitting her once in the chest. He then drove away.
After Mendoza was arrested in Minneapolis on June 15, he allegedly told law enforcement that Padilla had instructed Mendoza to kill the woman. He claimed that he drove around with the woman for several hours, weighing whether he should do the deed and fearing for his own life if he didn’t. Finally, he allegedly decided to do it, shooting her while wearing rubber gloves and giving the gun back to Padilla later.