National Guard Member And Tween Daughter Fatally Shot, 1 Suspect On The Lam

Authorities in Massachusetts are searching for a second suspect in the deaths of a National Guard member and her 11-year-old daughter who were fatally shot inside their vehicle on Tuesday, Worcester police announced. 

Karel Mangual, 28, was arrested in connection to the death of Chasity Nunez, 27, and her daughter Zella, both of whom were found inside their parked SUV with serious gunshot wounds, police announced. The two were immediately taken to the hospital where they were pronounced dead.

Mangual is charged with armed assault to murder and carrying a firearm without a license, police said. According to a separate release, another suspect, Dejan Belnavis, 27, was also involved in the incident but is on the run and should be considered armed and dangerous.

Chasity Nunez, right), a Massachusetts woman who was killed with her daughter Zella, left, via Instagram
Chasity Nunez, right), a Massachusetts woman who was killed with her daughter Zella, left, via Instagram Instagram

According to a criminal complaint obtained by HuffPost, surveillance footage showed two people who police believe to be Belnavis and Mangual walking up to Nunez’s car and firing multiple shots at the mother and daughter before running away.

Nunez had “numerous gunshot wounds throughout her body” and her daughter in the passenger seat was not breathing, the document stated. One witness told investigators they saw the suspects drive off in a white sedan following the incident.

Police were able to locate the vehicle’s registered owner, but the owner told officers that he had let Belnavis, who is his girlfriend’s son, borrow the car for the past year, according to the complaint. The vehicle was soon located in Hartford, Connecticut, where police said Belnavis may have relatives.

A spokesperson for the Connecticut National Guard told HuffPost that Nunez was a decorated patient administration specialist of the 142nd Medical Company. She served in the military for four years, and during that time was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon and Army Achievement Medal.

Nunez’s supervisor, Maj. David Pytlik, told local news outlet MassLive that she was “beloved by her fellow soldiers.”

“I cannot begin to make sense of why this happened and why her family, friends, co-workers and fellow soldiers have been robbed of her and Zella,” Pytlik said. “What we can, and must do now, is support one another as we grieve, process this profound loss and honor their memory.

Zella’s cousin and godfather, Tyrae Sims, told NBC affiliate WBTS that Zellawas legally blind. Sims is now mourning the two as he tries to understand why they were targeted.

“I just hope they know the gravity of what they just did, they took two beautiful souls senselessly,” Sims told the outlet. “The best mom she could possibly have been, she loved those girls with all her heart. Zella was just the best, she was the best, so full of life, such a good little girl, she didn’t deserve it at all.”