AURORA, Colo. — Aurora Police Department (APD) is searching for a suspect wanted in connection to a shooting that left four people dead.
The shooting happened early Sunday morning near 10th Avenue and North Geneva Street. Police identified the suspect as 21-year-old Joseph Castorena. He is described as 5 feet 4 inches tall, with a slim build and a lion tattoo on his neck.
According to APD, a call came in from the suspect's partner, who was unharmed and is safe. Two young children who were inside the home are also safe, police said.
A family member related to three of the victims said Castorena broke into their home and waited with a gun for them to return from a party.
The victims were Jesus Serrano, 51; Maria Anita Serrano, 22; Kenneth Eugene Green Luque, 20, and Rudolfo Salgado Perez, 49, according to the Arapahoe County Coroner's Office.
Maria Anita Serrano, known as Mariana, was Jesus' daughter and was married to Ken, according to Ubaldo Codina, Mariana's uncle.
When a man who rented an RV on the property came outside in the midst of the shooting, Codina said, Castorena shot the renter too. Castorena's onetime partner, who is Mariana's twin sister, survived.
"He told her he was going to kill her too," Codina said. "But he ran out of bullets."
Codina said the two children found safe in the home are Mariana and Ken's now-orphaned daughters — one is just over a year old, and the other is three months old.
"Right now, everyone is devastated," Codina said. "They were great people. They were workaholics. They would work hard so they could get the best for the kids. Jesus was a great parent. He was always there for them."
Records show Castorena's ex-girlfriend, Jesus Serrano and Mariana Serrano all filed protection orders against him.
Abby Hansen, the Chief Program Officer at SafeHouse Denver, said family members of domestic violence survivors are often at risk.
"If a survivor has a strong relationship with a friend or a family member, especially somebody living within their own home, perpetrators are going to exploit that," Hansen said.
The protection order claims Castorena pulled a gun on his ex-girlfriend and threatened to kill her father if the father didn't give Castorena's kids to him.
A hearing to make the protection order filed by Castorena's ex-girlfriend permanent was scheduled for later this week.
"These kinds of situations are so tragic for so many reasons, and I think it's really also important to highlight that for so many survivors, protection orders are working and they are keeping themselves and their kids safe," Hansen said.
"So it really needs to be a case-by-case basis if a protection order is right for any particular survivor, and those conversations can be had with a specially trained confidential DV advocate such as SafeHouse Denver," she said.
According to Castorena's criminal record, he has previously been arrested for felony child abuse, failure to appear for multiple court hearings including one for a misdemeanor domestic violence charge and for violating court orders. Aurora Police confirmed Castorena has a history of domestic violence.
According to court documents, Castorena also filed a protection order three weeks ago against a person listed as his mother-in-law. Based on the circumstances, that person appears to be the mother of Castorena's ex-girlfriend.
Police are asking anyone who may have seen the suspect or have knowledge of his location to call 911.
APD has recovered what they believe is the suspect's car. They searched his home nearby, but were unable to locate him.
SafeHouse Denver is encouraging survivors or loved ones to reach out if they need support. They have a 24-hour crisis hotline and can be reached at 303-318-9989.
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 720-913-7867 or visit metrodenvercrimestoppers.com. The reward has been increased to a total of $15,000 for information leading to Castorena's arrest.
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