Detectives have arrested a young man who they say robbed a massage parlor with an accomplice and killed the owner in a gunfight Monday evening in Northeast Albuquerque.
Jorge Rivera-Ramirez, 18, is charged with an open count of murder, kidnapping, armed robbery with a deadly weapon, tampering with evidence and conspiracy in the death of 45-year-old Sihui Fang, owner of Wonderful Massage.
Rivera-Ramirez is recovering from multiple gunshot wounds at a local hospital. The second robbery suspect fled the scene and is still on the loose.
Authorities suspect the case may be connected to a string of two-man robberies at massage parlors around the city.
Police responded around 8:45 p.m. to the strip mall, near Menaul and Alvarado NE, after a man reported being shot. Officers found Rivera-Ramirez shot multiple times outside the business.
Rivera-Ramirez told police his sister dropped him off to get a massage but “he doesn’t know what happened” after he went inside. An officer followed a blood trail into the massage parlor and found Fang’s body inside a bullet-riddled office.
Fang had been shot multiple times and was pronounced dead at the scene. A handgun was found beside her body and bullet casings littered the business.
Fang’s boyfriend told police she is “very careful” when working alone and kept a gun in a desk drawer in her office. Surveillance video showed Rivera-Ramirez appear to pay Fang for a massage and follow her into a room inside.
The video showed the pair emerge from the room moments later with Rivera-Ramirez holding a gun to Fang’s head. Rivera-Ramirez led Fang to the front door and forced her to let in another man.
The video showed Fang tried to run but the men forced her inside, knocked her to the ground and Rivera-Ramirez dragged her by the hair to the back office. Police said the video cut out at that point as the cameras were disconnected.
Detectives believe Fang was able to get to the gun in her desk and fire at Rivera-Ramirez multiple times. Police say Rivera-Ramirez ran into another room before shooting back at Fang, striking her multiple times.
Detectives discovered $500 was missing, and Rivera-Ramirez’s shoeprints were found all over the business. During the investigation, detectives learned police had been investigating a series of armed robberies at massage parlors around Albuquerque.
The suspects in the robberies were two men who would take the victims’ phones, cash and would disable video cameras.