The suspect charged with fatally shooting a 20-year-old mother in Hudson, Massachusetts last week admitted to the killing and was trying to leave for Puerto Rico, prosecutors alleged Monday.
Luis Santos, 23, told a friend he killed the woman, Karla Rodriguez — his girlfriend — saying, "I killed Karla," prosecutors said at Santos' arraignment at Marlborough District Court.
According to court paperwork, surveillance video shows Rodriguez’s car in the parking lot of Santos’ Howe Street apartment. In the video, a man later identified by two relatives as Santos pulls out what appears to be a gun and shoots twice into the windshield — hitting Rodriguez in the head and killing her.
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Santos' attorney entered a not-guilty plea on his behalf, saying Santos turned himself into police when he found out about a warrant for his arrest.
Santos, of Hudson, was ordered held without bail. He is due back in court Dec. 24.
The not-guilty plea came four days after investigators say Rodriguez was gunned down in her car near Santos' apartment.
Investigators say the young mother had been dating Rodriguez for about three months when she found out she was pregnant – leading to the deterioration of their relationship. They allege Santos had threatened to kill Rodriguez the day before she was murdered.
Santos turned himself into Hudson police Friday after being at large since the previous day.
Arranged through his attorney, Santos surrendered on a warrant charging him with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon causing serious bodily injury, unlawful possession of a firearm and armed assault with intent to murder.
On Tuesday, the victim’s relatives said they were heartbroken.
“Devastating," said Isabel Famania-Banks, Rodriguez's cousin. "I don’t want any family (to) go through what we’re going through right now, especially not for the holidays, and especially being her son’s first Christmas."
"She’s not going to be here for Christmas, for his birthdays or anything, so it’s something that us, as a family, we have to step up and put the pieces back together.”
Authorities stated Rodriguez and Santos were returning to Santos' apartment building on Howe Street around 2 p.m. Thursday when there was some type of disagreement. Investigators say Rodriguez was in the drivers seat of her blue Subaru outside the Hudson apartment when Santos allegedly fired several shots into the car before fleeing the scene on foot.
Officers responding to a 911 call found Rodriguez suffering from gunshot wounds. She was taken to an area hospital and later taken by medical helicopter to UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, where she was pronounced dead early Friday.
“Every time I see her she was always smiling,” said Markelis Sanchez, who was Rodriguez’s neighbor in Framingham.
A woman who identified herself as a cousin of Santos said Friday that the family was stunned.
"It's shocking but I mean, we have to move on," the woman said.
A heavy police presence descended upon the neighborhood Thursday as officers with long guns drawn searched the area for Santos, who fled the scene on foot.
The incident prompted Camela A. Farley Elementary School to issue a lockdown as a precaution. Students were released through a controlled dismissal.
Diane Chaves lives right next door to the Howe Street apartment building where Rodriguez was shot and killed inside her vehicle.
"I was home and I didn't hear anything," she said. "I didn't hear gunshots. I didn't even hear sirens."
"Definitely concerning," she added. "But I've been here for 20-plus years, I've lived near this apartment building. I've never had any issues."
The Department of Children and Families has been contacted regarding Rodriguez's baby boy, DA Ryan said.