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Massachusetts police launch manhunt for suspect linked to double murder of mother, daughter

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Police in Massachusetts have launched a manhunt for an “armed and dangerous” suspect linked to the double murder of a mother and her 11-year-old daughter in broad daylight. 

Dejan Belnavis, 27, is being sought by the Worcester Police Department in connection to the killing of Chastity Nunez and her daughter Zella on Tuesday. 

“Belnavis is to be considered armed and dangerous,” police wrote in a wanted poster after city officials decried the violence as “senseless.” 

Worcester Police say they were dispatched to the area of Lisbon St at Englewood Ave on Tuesday around 3 p.m. after receiving a report of gunshots. 

1 DEAD, 3 INJURED IN WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS SHOOTING 

Worcester suspect Dejan Belnavis

Dejan Belnavis, 27, is “to be considered armed and dangerous,” the Worcester Police Department said. (Worcester Police Department)

“Upon arrival, officers located a parked vehicle with two female gunshot victims inside,” they added. “The victims were identified as a mother and her daughter, and they were both pronounced deceased at the hospital.” 

Police said in court documents that surveillance video shows “the victims parked in their vehicle and that two people walk up to the vehicle and start shooting,” the Worcester Telegram & Gazette reported. Video also showed a car consistent with a witness description circling the area before the shooting and leaving afterward, the documents said. The vehicle was later found in Hartford, Connecticut. 

Police said Thursday that a second suspect linked to the homicide, 28-year-old Karel Mangual, was arrested last night. 

“He is charged with Armed Assault to Murder and Carrying a Firearm without a License,” according to Worcester Police. “He also had a preexisting arrest warrant. He will be arraigned in court.”

2 TEENS KILLED IN REPORTEDLY ‘TARGETED’ MASSACHUSETTS SHOOTING, POLICE SAY 

Worcester Police Department vehicle

The Worcester Police Department says the two gunshot victims were found inside a parked vehicle on Tuesday afternoon. (Worcester Police Department)

Belnavis, who is being sought on the same charges, is described as being 5-feet 11 inches tall and weighing 160 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. 

Authorities didn’t immediately release a potential motive for the killings. It also wasn’t released whether there was any relationship between the men and the victims. 

“Today we mourn the senseless loss of two Worcester residents, a mother and daughter whose lives were taken far too soon and far too tragically,” the city’s mayor, city manager, police chief and school district superintendent said in a joint statement. 

“Collectively, we ask for patience and privacy on behalf of the victims’ family and friends and for the Worcester Public Schools who are grieving the loss of a student. An act of such violence has no place in our city.” 

Worcester Police Department vehicles

The Worcester Police Department has already arrested Karel Mangual in connection to the double homicide. (Worcester Police Department 2)

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The statement said the residents of Worcester “deserve better, and we will stand alongside our community in sorrow and solidarity.” 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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