Two Suspected Gang Members Shot Dead, Eight Arrested in Beer Keg Ripoff; Homeowner Who Shot Party Crashers Not Facing Charges

A Chandler homeowner opened fire on suspected gang members who had infiltrated his party early Sunday and attacked him while trying to steal a keg of beer.

Two of the suspects were killed at the scene in a neighborhood near Ray Road and Arizona Avenue. Cops have arrested eight other gang members or associates of gangs linked to the crime and seek charges of operating as a street gang, armed robbery and first-degree murder.

Cops gave the following details in court paperwork:

The homeowner, who wasn't named, was having a party with friends and family members in the 600 block of North Sunland Drive when a group of men arrived uninvited and tried to mix in with the guests. The real guests began to get nervous -- especially when someone noticed the men were well armed.

At this point in the movie, imagine a record needle screeching a song to an abrupt halt. Party over, the homeowner declared.

But the suspects apparently felt like they'd gotten all spiffed up for nothing. They wanted to party, and if they had to leave -- well, they'd just take the beer keg.

"One of the female party hosts and purchasers of the beer confronted the uninvited guests and challenged them as they attempted to leave with the keg," records state. The squabble moved to the street, with several of the suspects and guests yelling and shoving each other. One of the suspected gang members told the group of family and friends to back off -- he had a gun.

The suspect, Alexis Contreras, lifted up his shirt and showed off the piece, records state. The woman -- who happened to be the homeowner's wife -- kept nagging the men to stop stealing the beer despite more warnings to stay back.

The homeowner saw that his wife might be in trouble and ran to her. Someone punched him in the face. Half of the intruders drove off with the beer.

Contreras and a few other homies stayed to debate with the homeowner and his wife.

Witnesses on both sides of the argument agree that Contreras pulled out a .22-caliber semi-automatic and pointed it at the homeowner and his wife, cops say.


The homeowner -- who has a concealed-weapons permit -- drew his own handgun from his waistband and ordered Contreras to drop his gun.

The homeowner was hit in the head and knocked to the ground, police say. That's when the homeowner squeezed off a couple of shots at Contreras, who was still pointing a gun at him. Contreras went down. Another man lunged at the homeowner and was also shot dead, police say.

The homeowner then walked into his house, called 911, and reported that he'd shot someone.

Police arrested the following men on suspicion of the above-listed charges:

Cesar Banuelos
Juan Banuelos
Joseph Leyba
Joe Vega
David Vega
Andrew Delgado
Alejandro Ramirez

No charges have been filed against the homeowner or other party-goers.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.