More News:

October 16, 2023

Suspect arrested in fatal shooting of Philly police officer Richard Mendez

Yobranny Martinez Fernandez, 18, was taken into custody Monday morning. Investigators are still looking for at least two alleged accomplices in the airport garage shooting

Investigations Shootings
Philly Police Shooting Source/Philadelphia Police

Philadelphia police officer Richard Mendez was fatally shot at Philadelphia International Airport on Oct. 12. Authorities have arrested Yobranny Martinez Fernandez, 18, of Camden County, in connection with the shooting. Investigators are looking for at least two more suspects.

An 18-year-old Camden County man has been arrested in connection to the fatal shooting of Philadelphia police officer Richard Mendez inside a parking garage at Philadelphia International Airport.

Yobranny Martinez Fernandez was arrested in Cherry Hill just before 4 a.m. Monday by U.S. Marshals, FBI agents and other law enforcement officers. Authorities used Mendez's handcuffs to take him into custody and transfer him to New Jersey State Police, who are holding him ahead of his extradition to Philadelphia. He will be charged with murder. 

Police said they haven't determined whether Martinez Fernandez fired the shots that killed Mendez, 50, and injured his partner Raul Ortiz, 60. Investigators are still searching for at least two additional accomplices in the shooting. 

Investigators also believe the death of 18-year-old Jesus Herman Madera Duran, who was dropped off at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia shortly after the shooting, is connected, police said. 

Mendez and Ortiz had just reported to work around 11 p.m. Thursday when they heard glass shatter in the Terminal D parking garage just off Arrivals Road, police said. Gunfire broke out when the veteran officers confronted a group of people attempting to break into a car.

Mendez was struck multiple times in the upper torso and later died at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center. Ortiz was hit once in the arm and was released from the hospital over the weekend.

Mendez's service gun was missing from the scene of the shooting at the airport and still has not been recovered, Deputy Commissioner Frank Vanore said. Detectives do not believe Mendez fired his weapon and they suspect Madera Duran may have been killed by one of the suspects rather than police gunfire. 

"We believe one of the accomplices of Duran pulled the trigger," Vanore said. "We just don't have all the answers in the investigation. We're working toward them now." 

Surveillance video shows a dark-colored Dodge Durango dropping Madera Duran off at CHOP, where he died. The driver seen in the video is a suspect in the shooting, police said. 

The Durango later was found abandoned and set on fire in South Brunswick, New Jersey. The vehicle had been stolen in South Philadelphia earlier this month, police said.

Mendez had been a Philadelphia cop for nearly 23 years, mostly with the 25th district in North Philly. He had transferred to the airport district in 2018. He was a husband and father to one daughter, police said. 

"We appreciate the people reaching out and we are grateful for the overwhelming amount of support we have received," the Mendez family said in a statement shared by City Councilmember Quetzy Lozada. "But at this time, we are asking for you to please allow us time to grieve. Richie was a great man who was loved by many and we will continue to love him through the memories we have of him." 

The family described Mendez as a family man and an asset to the police department. He had completed a masters degree in 2019 and aspired to become a college professor after his retirement from police work. 

Ortiz, a 20-year veteran of the department, also spent most of his career in the 25th district before transferring to the airport.

The reward for information leading to arrests in the case is now up to $237,400, authorities said. 

"We need more. We need people to call. We still have at least two individuals who are at large and there could be more," Vanore said. 

Anyone with information connected to the shooting can call or text (215) 686-8477.