A search for answers in soldier's murder

May 3, 2008 6:52:50 AM PDT
Fayetteville Police investigators are hoping to get some help solving the murder of a Fort Bragg soldier.

Military leaders say they're outraged that an 82nd Airborne paratrooper survived military combat duty only to be shot in Fayetteville.

Friday, the lead investigator and friends of the soldier will return to the place where he was killed, hoping someone will come forward with information.

"He would give you the close off of his back," Sergeant Ezekiel Salako said. "He's a great guy and he doesn't deserve that."

Salako was a friend of 22-year-old paratrooper Sergio Sanchez. Authorities say the soldier was shot dead April 12 on a side street near Sharky's nightclub. He died on April 19.

His friends say Sanchez was on his cell phone with his girlfriend at the time of the attack.

"His girlfriend called the guy that was with me," Salako explained. "I think Sanchez is in trouble. This is what I heard. I heard some fussing, argument, give me your wallet -- this and that."

The conversation was over a cell phone and during the conversation, the call was dropped.

Eyewitnesses say the four or five suspects had robbed several other soldiers when Sanchez happened to walk by.

Calls started pouring into the 911 center after the paratrooper was shot in the back of the head, including a call from one of the robbery victims.

"911 What is your emergency?" the operator asked.

"We were starting into Sharky's, and we were hit by robbers and one guy," the caller said. "And one guy got shot dead right now."

"OK, we have the call in and we're going to get officers over there now," the operator replied.

"They have one shotgun and about five pistols," the caller said. "They have all my IDs, my friend's IDs and other IDs and they just shot somebody back in the street."

"OK, so they robbed you?" the operator asked.

"Yes," the caller replied.

Sanchez was the designated driver that night. He and his buddy's had just returned from 15 months of combat duty and Iraq.

"We were a team -- a family, and it took a member from us and that space is still empty," Salako said. "I don't think it could be filled."

Authorities say there were a lot of people outside the club the night of the shooting but so far, there are not enough clues to make an arrest.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Fayetteville Police Department.


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