An 18-year-old Wyoming man accused of robbing and shooting three members of a family after asking for roadside help told investigators he opened fire after one of the victims laughed at him, an FBI agent said in a court filing Thursday.
Jason Shane, 51, and Tana Shane, 47, died in the Wednesday shooting in the small town of Pryor, FBI spokesman Todd Palmer told the Associated Press. Their daughter, 26-year-old Jorah Shane, was shot in the back when she tried to run away, and she is recovering in a Billings hospital, the woman’s aunt, Ada Shane, said.
The statement by Special Agent Larry McGrail II was filed in U.S. District Court seeking a murder warrant for Jesus Deniz, also known as Jesus Deniz Mendoza, of Worland, Wyoming.
Two FBI agents interviewed Deniz on Wednesday, and Deniz acknowledged shooting three people with a .22 caliber rifle and then driving away in their car, McGrail’s statement said.
“Deniz told the interviewing agents that he shot the victims because he was getting tired of waiting around, and because the daughter had laughed at him,” the statement said.
Deniz is being held in Park County, Wyoming, after police arrested him near Meeteetse, about 120 miles away from Pryor. A judge’s signed warrant would begin the process of returning Deniz to Montana to face charges in the killing.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Carolyn Ostby scheduled an initial court appearance for Deniz on Friday.
Jorah Shane recounted to her relatives the events leading to the shooting. Her mother, Tana Shane, drove by a young man parked on the side of the road who told her he had run out of fuel, Ada Shane said.
“He’s only 18, and he looked like an innocent boy,” Ada Shane said. “Both my brother and sister-in-law have big hearts.”
Tana Shane went by her house, picked up her husband and daughter, and they drove back to the stranded car, Ada Shane said. The man pulled a gun and held it to the temple of 51-year-old Jason Shane.
He ordered the father to stop the car and told everybody to get out, Ada Shane said. He told the family to give him their money, but the family said they had only change because they recently returned from a religious revival in Window Rock, Arizona.
The man told the family to start walking. Tana Shane told her daughter in their Native American language to run. Jorah Shane told her aunt that she heard a shot, started running then heard bullets whizzing by her head. She fell, heard another shot, and started running again toward a church just as a car was pulling out.
She ran to the car, and the frightened driver leaped out, Ada Shane said. Jorah Shane jumped in the driver’s seat and drove to her house with the shooter still firing at her, the aunt said.
McGrail’s statement largely confirmed the account by Ada Shane, though it did not name the victims and it said the driver who stopped near the church got out of the car to check on the woman’s parents.
Jorah Shane was later hospitalized. A bullet had grazed her head and she had a gunshot wound to the back. She didn’t know as of Thursday that her parents had been killed in the shooting, Ada Shane said.
“Last night before she went in, she told everyone to go look for her mom, she’s hiding in the field,” Ada Shane said.
The aunt said relatives have kept the hospital room’s television off and she doesn’t know how they will break the news to her.
Palmer, the FBI spokesman, declined to identify Jorah Shane as the wounded person, saying the FBI does not provide information about potential witnesses.
It is not clear whether Deniz has an attorney. Park County court officials said a hearing had not been set for Deniz.
Messages left on two phone numbers listed under Deniz’s name were not returned.