The Glendale Police Department has made an arrest in the homicide investigation involving a woman who was shot more than 10 times.
The suspect, 20-year-old Mohammad Hussain Ataei, was arrested on April 27 in connection with the slaying of 25-year-old Irma Rivera-Martinez, who worked at a convenience store near 51st and Glendale avenues.
Ataei is charged with first degree murder.
Glendale police detailed what happened before Ataie’s arrest in an April 28 press conference.
Detectives said Ataei entered the convenience store just after 1 p.m. 21 on April 21 dressed in all black. After he entered, he went to the back of the store where Rivera-Martinez stocked shelves.
Ataei approached Rivera-Martinez and shot her 10 times at close range. He then left the store and ran from the scene.
Detectives were able to obtain surveillance video that showed the suspect wearing distinctive shoes. Additionally, nearby cameras allowed detectives to get a vehicle description — a dark blue Toyota Camry — along with a license plate to help identify who the car’s registered owner was, which was Ataei.
“Surveillance is just really imperative when we’re trying to solve these crimes,” said Officer Gina Winn, public information officer for the Glendale Police Department.
Detectives were able to locate and arrest Ataei near 48th and Glendale Avenue. A search of his Avondale home turned up evidence of the weapon used, along with some of the clothing Ataei was wearing on the night of the murder.
Ataei has refused to cooperate with detectives, and so far a motive for this murder has not been determined.
“I think it’s really important to emphasize here that this was a really violent attack on this person,” said Jose Santiago, public safety media relations/communications manager for the city of Glendale.
“This was clearly targeted. Our detectives are still trying to determine what the motive was behind all of this. For someone to walk into a store and open fire on someone shooting multiple times like this person did, this was a very heinous attack.”
Councilman Jamie Aldama of the Ocotillo District was at the press conference, and he extended his sympathy to the family of Rivera-Martinez, as well as his appreciation for the Glendale Police Department.
“My condolences to the family,” Aldama said. “We are sad for you in the city of Glendale; grieving with you and for you. I want to thank Chief (Chris) Briggs and all of his police officers – women, men and his team – for bringing justice so quickly to the family and beginning the steps to end for the family.
“I want our Glendale residents and those who live in the Ocotillo district, the visitors (to know) that you stay safe. We remain a warm, welcoming community and I am confident that our police chief and the police officers in the city of Glendale will continue to patrol and keep you safe. This was a targeted, despicable attack and we will not tolerate any of it at all.”