Antonio Padilla

Antonio Padilla is charged with killing Luis Victor Mendoza.

A new Buckeye Police Department unit investigation led to the arrest in a decade-old homicide.

Antonio Padilla, 42, is charged with the 2010 killing of Luis Victor Mendoza.

Police found Mendoza in an irrigation canal near Miller Road and Southern Avenue. Mendoza had been shot four times with a .22 caliber handgun, according to Donna Rossi, a Buckeye Police spokeswoman.

In early July, the Buckeye Police Department’s recently formed Major Crimes Unit reopened the investigation. 

“This is exactly the kind of outcome I expected when forming this team. I have no doubt there will be a resolve to more unsolved cold cases in the near future,” Buckeye Police Chief Larry Hall said.

Rossi said detectives followed up on the Mendoza killing “by conducting extensive follow-up and identified key witnesses to the murder of Mendoza. All of them identified Phoenix resident Padilla as the shooter,” Rossi said.

Padilla was released from an Arizona prison in February, after serving time for a weapons violation and gang activity. 

On July 22, Phoenix police located Padilla near 19th Avenue and Bell Road and took Padilla into custody during a traffic stop.

“At the time of his arrest, Padilla was armed with a loaded, semi-automatic rifle with a full magazine,” Rossi said.