2 more suspects arrested in killing of Philly officer at airport garage

Police have now arrested a total of three suspects in connection with the shooting death of Richard Mendez.

The back of a Philadelphia police van is seen on a street

Shown is a police vehicle in in Philadelphia, Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Police have made two more arrests in the murder of Philadelphia Police Officer Richard Mendez. Alexander Batista-Polanco, a 21-year-old from Scranton, and 21-year-old Hendrick Pena-Fernandez of Pennsauken now face charges in the death of Mendez,  who was shot to death in the parking garage at Philadelphia International Airport last week.

Mendez and fellow officer Raul Ortiz were arriving to work at 11 p.m. last Thursday when they found several people breaking into a car inside the airport’s parking garage. Mendez was shot during a confrontation with the alleged suspects and Ortiz was wounded and treated at the hospital.

Interim Police Commissioner John Stanford said the ongoing investigation is a way to bring closure to the Mendez family.

“Someone asked the other day, ‘What was the message for those that were responsible for this,’ and I said that we would get you, and we did just that.”

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Councilmember Quetcy Lozada read a statement from the Mendez family.

“Even though we’re experiencing hurt and anger, there is some solace in knowing justice is being carried out. As we continue to grieve we ask for continued privacy.”

Police say the investigation isn’t over and they are still seeking people who helped the suspects evade capture and will bring charges against them.

A stolen SUV allegedly used in the incident was found burned in New Jersey the next day. That vehicle has been brought back to Philadelphia for processing. Police believe that SUV was used to drop off an 18-year-old who was shot during the gunfight with police at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. He was later pronounced dead.

Early Monday, 18-year-old Yobranny Martinez Fernandez, of Camden County, was taken into custody in Cherry Hill. Police officials said Mendez’s handcuffs were used during the arrest.

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