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Man Arrested in Connection to Mass. Fatal Shooting of Woman and Her 11-year-old Daughter Inside Parked Car

Worcester County District Attorney Joseph Early shared in a press conference Monday night that the man's charges would be upgraded to murder

<p>Worcester Police Department/Facebook</p>

Worcester Police Department/Facebook

After a nearly one-week manhunt, police in Massachusetts have arrested a man suspected of fatally shooting a mother and her 11-year-old daughter who were inside a parked car.

The Worcester Police Department announced on social media on Monday that officers arrested Dejan Belnavis, 27, who had been wanted in connection to the March 5th shooting of Chasity Nuñez and Zella Nuñez.

Belnavis had been wanted on firearm and armed assault to murder charges, according to police. Blenavis was listed on a U.S. Marshals' wanted poster as armed and dangerous with a reward of $10,000 for any information that led to his arrest.

On Monday, the department shared that Belnavis was taken into custody after a motor vehicle stop in the San Diego area. Authorities noted that they managed to use tracking technology to pinpoint Belnavis’ location in the area, Boston affiliate WHDH reported.

<p>Worcester Police Department/Facebook</p> Dejan Belnavis, who was wanted for charges connected to the fatal shooting that occurred on March 5th, was taken into custody Monday in the San Diego area after a motor vehicle stop.

Worcester Police Department/Facebook

Dejan Belnavis, who was wanted for charges connected to the fatal shooting that occurred on March 5th, was taken into custody Monday in the San Diego area after a motor vehicle stop.

Related: Manhunt Underway for 27-Year-Old Man Suspected of Fatally Shooting a Mother and Her Young Daughter Inside Parked Car

Per the news station, Worcester Police Chief Paul Saucier thanked the several agencies — including the Massachusetts State Police and San Diego Police Department — for working together to apprehend Belnavis.

Worcester Mayor Joseph Petty also shared at a press conference on Monday the importance of this latest arrest. “This tonight brings great relief to Chasity and Zella’s family here, and also that neighborhood, and also to Worcester Public Schools,” Petty said, per the Boston Herald.

A second individual, Karel Mangual, 28, was arrested last week on charges of armed assault to murder and carrying a firearm without a license in relation to the incident, the Worcester Police Department confirmed on Facebook.

According to the Boston Herald, Worcester County District Attorney Joseph Early also shared during the press conference that his office intended to upgrade both Belnavis and Mangual’s charges related to the shooting.

<p>Chasity Nunez/Instagram</p> A photo of Chasity Nunez and eleven-year-old Zella Nunez.

Chasity Nunez/Instagram

A photo of Chasity Nunez and eleven-year-old Zella Nunez.

Related: Ft. Worth Police Seeking Suspects Who Fatally Shot Young Man While Mom Reportedly Begged Them to Stop

“The other co-defendant, the charge is going to be upgraded to murder tomorrow,” Early said in the press conference, per the outlet. “And when this defendant is brought back as well, he’s going to also be charged with murder… And we’ll let everything else pretty much unfold in the courtroom with regard to both defendants.”

Local authorities shared in a news release last Wednesday that officers responded to a report of gunshots on a residential street and found two females, later identified as Chasity Nuñez and Zella Nuñez, inside a parked vehicle. The mother and daughter had serious injuries from gunshot wounds and they were pronounced dead after they were transported to a local hospital.

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In a statement shared on Facebook after the shooting, Petty, Saucier, City Manager Eric D. Batista and Superintendent Dr. Rachel Monárrez said they “stand alongside our community in sorrow and solidarity” in the wake of the tragedy.

“Today we mourn the senseless loss of two Worcester residents, a mother and daughter whose lives were taken far too soon and far too tragically. Collectively, we ask for patience and privacy on behalf of the victims’ family and friends and for the Worcester Public Schools who are grieving the loss of a student. An act of such violence has no place in our City,” they continued. “The residents of Worcester deserve better.”

They added, “Worcester is a resilient community, and we know that our residents will lovingly embrace the victims’ family and friends as we work toward healing from this traumatic event.”

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