Family speaks after police catch 12-year-old murder suspects


Jose Angel Chegue Mendoza (Mendoza family)

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- "They are like 12 years old and my brother is 15. You are really thinking about killing someone? Going to jail? You are supposed to be out here playing little games but you are out here with a gun," said Yazlin Mendoza.

Two 12-year-old boys are now in jail, according to Winston-Salem police, for the murder of someone they knew -- 15-year-old Jose Mendoza. Yazlin is Jose's sister. She says knowing that police caught the two kids they believe are responsible for Jose's death gives her family a sense of relief, but she says it doesn't bring back her little brother.

"He was just so sweet and caring. He would try not to show emotion, when I try to hug him he would be like, ‘Stop, stop,’" Yazlin said, remembering her brother.

Monday, friends and family gathered at the Mendoza home to mourn. Yazlin says everything happened so fast after she and her dad dropped Jose off at a picnic on Friday. Police found Jose shot multiple times outside a church on Crews Street in Winston-Salem that night. He later died at the hospital.

"It wasn't even 10 minutes and everything just went crazy -- I got a phone call, ‘Your brother just got shot,’"Yazlin remembered.

Jose would have been a freshman this fall at Carver High School. Yazlin says he had planned to join Junior ROTC like their older brother, play football and wrestle. But most of all, Yazlin wants people to remember that while shy, Jose was braver than many knew.

"You would just see him as a quiet boy but he loved action more than words and if he only had a piece of bread he would give you it if you wanted it," she said.

Because of the young age of the suspects, police say they won't give out any more information, But they did say they are not looking for any other people involved in the crime. They have not decided whether to try the juveniles as adults.

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