Suspects ID'd in connection to Avondale bank robbery that led to suspect being killed by police

Posted at 12:39 PM, Sep 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-08 01:48:13-04

Phoenix police have identified 31-year-old Ruben Rodriguez and 20-year-old Sergio Escobedo as the two men arrested in connection with an Avondale bank robbery on Tuesday.

The third suspect, 31-year-old Steven Del Rio, was shot and killed by policein Tempe after his vehicle was forced off the road by officers at the end of a lengthy pursuit. 

While police were following the suspect’s vehicle, Rodriguez and Garcia got out of the vehicle and fled on foot.

An officer and a K-9 officer were both eventually able to detain the two suspects.

Escobedo is facing two charges of armed robbery and two charges of aggravated assault on an officer. According to court paperwork, Escobedo was seen during the pursuit firing a gun at officers from the back seat of the car.

The Phoenix Police Department said Avondale police officers who first attempted to stop the vehicle were shot at; the shootings happened at three different locations. Avondale police did originally pursue the suspects but then turned it over to Phoenix police near 91st Avenue and Interstate 10.  

Rodriguez is facing charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, armed robbery and possession of a weapon by a prohibited possessor. According to court paperwork, Rodriguez said he needed money to pay off a drug debt, and admitted to police that he robbed the bank.

But in a jailhouse interview Wednesday evening, Rodriguez denied any involvement with the robbery. Rodriguez told reporters that he does not remember anything about Tuesday before his arrest. He expressed condolences to Delrio’s family.

All suspects connected to the robbery have been arrested, according to police.

The three Phoenix police officers who were involved in the incident are all male, between the ages of 40-50 and have 20-30 years of experience with the department. 

Air15 video of the chase also showed a woman during the thick of it as Del Rio’s car paced up and down an alley in South Phoenix, that woman is his older sister who’s now speaking out and giving new perspective to the chase. 

Christina Del Rio Santeyan says her brother did call her right after the bank robbery waking her up from a nap. She says an alert on her phone not long after showed her a live police chase and she recognized the SUV immediately so she ran outside.

She says in a matter of minutes she and her husband, who was also outside, were swarmed by police. She says she was held against a wall, handcuffed, grilled for answers about her brother and put in the back of a patrol car. She says an officer eventually opened the door to tell her her brother had been shot and was dead, she says she was let out of the cruiser to vomit before being loaded back inside. Santeyan was never formally arrested and says she was never read her rights or informed that her statement was voluntary until she was allowed to leave the police station. 

Del Rio’s sister says he was struggling to readjust to life as a convict, he was depressed and though he seemed to be trying to live an honest lifestyle, going to church, most recently she noticed him withdrawing, staying out later and showing up with friends she got a bad vibe from.

"He had the biggest heart but being around a bad crowd leads you to do bad things," she said.