Police ID Kannapolis shooting victims

Kannapolis police have identified the shooting victims of a double homicide Saturday night, which police now say is not connected to shots fired at a Charlotte police officer Sunday.

The Kannapolis victims were Lorena Manzanares Soto, 27, of 702 W. 8th St. andJavier Jiminez Mendez, 24, of 2210-B Brookside Drive, Kannapolis Sgt. Chris Nesbitt said this morning.

Police are seeking Joaquin Alvarez Rios, 35, in the shootings. Both victims were shot multiple times at 702 W. 8th St, police said. The woman was Rios' wife, and Mendez was an acquaintance of hers.

Three children in the home may have witnessed the shootings, said Lt. Ken Jackson. Family members at another house called police about 11:30 p.m. because Rios dropped off his children there abruptly, police said.

The Cabarrus and Rowan county departments of social services have both been involved in the case, which involves three children ages 4 to 11.

Kannapolis officers sent shell casings to Charlotte for lab analysis, to determine whether there's a connection to the shooting there. CMPD said the suspect descriptions were similar in both cases, and it appeared the same kind of handgun was used.

But late Tuesday, authorities confirmed there was no match.

“At this point, no connection has been confirmed based on the evidence,” Nesbitt said.

About midnight Sunday, Charlotte-Mecklenburg officer Andy Riddle attempted to pull over a Honda when a man fired several shots from the driver's side window, police said. Riddle returned fire, and the Honda took off. The officer was not hurt.

At least one of his bullets pierced the car, police said, possibly injuring one of the Honda's occupants. About two hours later, S.C. authorities found the same car wrecked on Interstate 77 near Exit 69 in Chester County.

But search teams could not find the suspects in that shooting. Bloodhounds found a trail of blood near the highway, but it led them nowhere, Chester County Sheriff Robby Benson said.

Kannapolis officers are searching for Rios. His sister lives in Kannapolis, and some of his relatives live in Charlotte, Nesbitt said.

“We do believe he is still in North Carolina, but we haven't been able to come up with an accurate location,” Nesbitt said.

Anyone with information about Rios should call Cabarrus Area Crime Stoppers, 704-932-7463, or detective David Miller, 704-920-4001.

Staff writer Victoria Cherrie contributed