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Coachella Craigslist killer captured attempting to escape from San Diego hospital

Gabriel Gaytan Cardenas
Police
Gabriel Gaytan Cardenas

A convict serving a life sentence for the murder of a Cathedral City man was re-captured after he attempted to escape from a hospital in San Diego.

Gabriel Gaytan Cardenas, 36, attempted to escape from Alvarado Hospital Medical Center in San Diego Tuesday night, authorities told CBS 8. There was no word as to what led to Cardenas' hospitalization, however, authorities said that he was able to remove his leg restraint then jumped out of a window onto the roof of the hospital.

Police also believe Cardenas may have changed into a janitorial outfit.

Cardenas was taken into custody following an altercation on the roof where two shots were fired.

"We are conducting an investigation into this incident. On the discharged weapon, the Office of the Inspector General has been contacted, as well as our Office of Internal Affairs," reads a news release from the California Department of Corrections.

Cardenas, a Mexican citizen, was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole for the murder of Victor Mendoza, 46, of Cathedral City on Nov. 11, 2014.

Full Story: Mexican citizen sentenced to life for Coachella Craiglist murder

The pair met after Cardenas, who was living in Fontana at the time, responded to a Craigslist ad Mendoza had posted to sell his Mercedes-Benz, according to a declaration filed in support of an arrest warrant submitted by sheriff's Investigator Sean Freeman.

The two rode off in Mendoza's vehicle, where Cardenas later shot him.

Mendoza's body was found in an open desert area near Avenue 47 and Tyler Street in Coachella a week later.

Cardenas was arrested on Nov. 17, 2014. He was driving a vehicle he had stolen that day from a father and son, who had also posted a Craigslist ad.

Cardenas would plead guilty to murder charges in March 2020.

Jesus Reyes

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