Police: Double homicide happened during robbery attempt; two charged with murder

Rene DeJesus and Brian Montanez/ Syracuse Police

Syracuse Police have charged two men with murder and other charges for the slaying of two men on Avery Avenue late last month.

Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler announced the arrests of 33-year-old Rene DeJesus, of New York City, and 26-year-old Brian Montanez, of Syracuse, during a news conference Wednesday.

Fowler said the pair was attempting to rob the victims, 39-year-old Jose Castro, of Syracuse, and 31-year-old Arturo Resto Figueroa, from Oklahoma, of "drug proceeds" at the time. Fowler said investigators believe DeJesus fired the shots that killed the two men inside an apartment on the 1100 block of Avery Avenue on September 25.

Fowler said DeJesus was found in New York City Wednesday and brought back to Syracuse to face charges of first-degree Murder, first-degree Attempted Robbery and second-degree Criminal Possession of a Weapon. Montanez was taken into custody Thursday and faces charges of second-degree Murder and first-degree Attempted Robbery, Fowler said.

A question Fowler wasn't able to answer was why nobody called police about the shooting sooner. Fowler said several shots were fired inside the apartment - enough to set off the smoke alarms, which some tenants said they heard - but the shooting went unreported until a person coming to visit the victims found their bodies.

"I can't explain it," Fowler said when asked why nobody reported the shooting sooner. He noted that tenants in the building were cooperative when detectives conducted their investigation.

Fowler said the investigation is ongoing, but was confident police had the people responsible for the killings in custody.