BCA agents collected evidence of ammunition, guns from death scene south of Albert Lea

Published 6:42 am Thursday, March 7, 2024

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Three members of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension who responded after the deadly shooting south of Albert Lea in August 2022 testified Wednesday about the three types of ammunition they found and documented outside of the residence on 160th Street during their collection of evidence.

Ben Moreno

Special agent Craig Martin worked in the role of a photographer and videographer on Aug. 9, 2022, after the death of Juan Vasquez Jr. at 75463 160th St.

Ben Moreno of Albert Lea has been charged with Vasquez’s death.

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Prosecutors showed a video recording Martin made of the crime scene along with dozens of photographs of both inside and outside of the residence there, as well as items of interest that were taken for evidence. There were also a shed and campers at the property.

Martin said with all of the items and general disarray that were in the house, it did not appear anyone lived there, though he said it was more likely someone lived in the camper.

Martin said a .300 rifle cartridge was found close to the corner of the house, along with two spent .380 caliber cartridges that he said appeared to be relatively new.

He also documented shotgun wads on the driveway near the gravel road, as well as broken automotive glass at the end of the driveway on the gravel road.

He referenced two spent rifle cartridges found that appeared to be weathered and discolored, which suggested they were not as new.

Authorities found a 12-gauge Benelli pump-action shotgun sitting in the backyard on top of a stove. There were no rounds in the gun. They also found a 12-gauge Mossberg shotgun in one of the trailers that had a round in the chamber.

Agent Joseph Swenson said he also collected a cell phone found near Vasquez and a .380 Bursa handgun that had already been gathered by the Sheriff’s Office prior to his arrival that had been found near Vasquez. Local authorities testified earlier in the day that Adam Sorum, an individual who called 911 after the shooting, had removed the handgun from Vasquez’s pocket and threw it away from him.

Agent Kathryn Roche, who was the team lead of the crime scene team that day, said in total they collected 13 items from the scene, including several cartridge cases, the 12-gauge shotgun found south of the house, the Bursa handgun and a blood stain that was found on a tree near where Vasquez had died.

Roche said the BCA also processed a Honda CR-V that appeared to have been shot at and was collected during the investigation. They searched that vehicle and conducted a trajectory analysis to determine the path of travel for the bullets fired and figure out where they were coming from.

Both of the CR-V’s front tires had come off the rims, and the back window was broken out.

Roche said evidence showed multiple defects on the vehicle indicate there could have been multiple shots fired at the vehicle.

She said the shots originated from the rear of the vehicle and traveled to the front of the vehicle, and one even went out the front windshield. Other shots grazed the side of the car.

She was specifically able to pinpoint three different trajectories through the back of the car.

The defects tested positive for the presence of lead.

A full day of testimony is expected Thursday in the case.