Updated: 5:15 p.m. June 21, 2014.
A 29-year-old man was arrested Saturday in connection with three murders that rocked San Diego on Christmas Eve and early this year.
Carlo Gallopa Mercado, 29, was booked by San Diego police at 7:24 a.m. Saturday for three counts of first degree murder. He is apparently accused of killing Ilona Flint and Salvatore Belvedere, both 22, outside the Macy’s Department Store in Mission Valley Dec. 24.
Salvatore’s brother and Flint’s fiancé, 24-year-old Gianni Belvedere, was discovered missing over Christmas. His body was found inside a parked car’s trunk in Riverside Jan. 17 after reports of foul odors emanating from the vehicle. Authorities later determined his cause of death to be gunshot wounds to the head, the same cause of death that had befallen his younger brother and fiancée.
San Diego police have issued no details Saturday. But a spokesman for the family members of the slain brothers say an arrest was made Saturday morning. At the news conference Saturday evening, Belvedere’s sister, Antoinette, offered no new information and asked for privacy.
“We’re relieved and at the same time trying to process this new information,” Antoinette Belevedere said. “We don’t have any information yet about motive. But there is a sense of relief that someone has been caught.”
She said that the San Diego police had contacted the family Saturday morning to tell them that the arrest was in connection to the triple homicide.
About 1:15 a.m. Dec. 24, Flint made a 911 call to report having been shot at Westfield Mission Valley, which had been open late for last-minute holiday shoppers. She died at the scene of the shooting, and her fiancé’s brother succumbed to his wounds at a hospital two days later. Both had been shot in the head.
Flint’s fiancé Gianni was reported missing by family members two days later on Dec. 26. His body was found outside a fast-food restaurant in Riverside inside the trunk of a green Toyota Camry with Utah license plates that police had described in a missing person’s bulletin. Police officially confirmed that it was Gianni’s body on Jan. 23.
On Jan. 24 police held a news conference giving more details about the suspect they sought in the case and on Feb. 7 police confirmed Gianni’s cause of death to be gun shot wounds to the head.
— City News Service