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Illegal immigrant charged with triple murder in Virginia

By Jeanne Meserve and Carol Cratty, CNN
  • Jose Oswaldo Reyes-Alfaro held in Manassas killings
  • Three people were fatally shot Thursday
  • Reyes-Alfaro's temporary status was revoked in 2006

Washington (CNN) -- An illegal immigrant from El Salvador has been charged in a triple slaying in Virginia.

Jose Oswaldo Reyes-Alfaro, 37, was arrested and charged Thursday in two attacks that resulted in the shooting deaths of Brenda Ashcraft, William Ashcraft and Julia Cesar Ulloa, all residents of Manassas, Virginia. Two other people sustained gunshot wounds, and a third suffered knife wounds.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Kelly Nantel says Reyes-Alfaro entered the U.S. illegally in February 2001. In 2003, he was granted temporary status, which allowed him to live in the U.S. legally, but it was revoked in 2006, and Reyes-Alfaro was designated an immigrant fugitive.

There are an estimated 498,000 immigrant fugitives in the U.S. The immigration agency has made it a priority to remove criminals from the country, but Reyes-Alfaro did not fit that classification, although a Department of Homeland Security official says he was convicted of non-felony assault and battery in 2004.

Sgt. Tim Neumann of the Manassas City Police Department says Reyes-Alfaro knew the victims and rented a room at the Manassas residence where the first attacks occurred. Police are investigating the nature of his relationships with the people there.

The first attack took place about 7:15 p.m. Thursday; the second attack took place at a nearby residence about 30 minutes later.

Witnesses were able to provide a vehicle description, and a short time later, the suspect was arrested in his car.

No court date has been set, and it was unclear whether Reyes-Alfaro has a lawyer.

On Sunday, another Salvadoran in the U.S. illegally, Salvador Portillo-Saravia, was arrested and charged with raping an 8-year-old girl in nearby Fairfax County, Virginia, on December 26.