QT Shooting investigation: New details about suspect released

The man suspected of shooting and killing a worker at a Mesa QuikTrip convenience store made his first appearance before a judge. We're also learning he should not have been allowed to have a gun or be at that QT store. FOX 10's Andrew Hasbun reports. 1/23/15
The man suspected of shooting and killing a worker at a Mesa QuikTrip convenience store made his first appearance before a judge.  We're also learning he should not have been allowed to have a gun or be at that QT store.

Apolinar Altamirano is accused of murdering a 21-year-old clerk over a pack of cigarettes.  In addition to not being allowed to have a gun, we've learned that he's in the country illegally and was going through deportation hearings.

The accused killer didn't say much in court and kept quiet when he was interviewed by police, but security cameras captured what happened at the QT nearly Stapley and Broadway around 4 a.m. Tuesday.

Police say the 29-year-old suspect brought in a jar of change to pay for a pack of cigarettes.  As the victim, Grant Ronneback, was counting the change, Altamirano said repeatedly, "You're not going to give me my cigarettes."

After the victim told him the money had to be counted, Altamirano pulled out a gun.  Court documents show the victim gave him the cigarettes, but police say Altamirano opened fire anyway.

The suspect then slowly walked behind the counter, stepped over the victim and took several packs of cigarettes and slowly walked out of the store. 

Altamirano pleaded guilty to a 2012 burglary related charge and had recently finished probation.  In court, the prosecutor talked about his immigration status.

"He is in the country illegally. He does not have status to be here. He was given bond by federal immigration authorities while they had a hearing to see if he should be deported from the country and during that time is when he committed these alleged crimes."

Police tell us the suspect was also recently banned from that QT store.  We don't know the exact reason why, but just a few days before the shooting, he was served with an injunction against harassment.  He was supposed to stay away from that store and the injunction also forbid him from possessing a gun. 

The judge set Altamirano's bond at $1 million.


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