Suspect charged in Mountain View shooting death

James Halpin,Kyle Hopkins
Police investigate the scene of a shooting this morning in a parking lot along Thompson Avenue. The body of a man was discovered at about 6:40 a.m. between twin apartment buildings on Price and Irwin streets.

A dispute over a cell phone may have led to a shooting outside a Mountain View apartment complex Wednesday morning that left one man dead and another charged with murder, according to court documents.

Ryan Angelo Malapit Sargento, 28, is charged with first-degree murder and two counts of evidence tampering in connection with the shooting on Thompson Avenue that left 30-year-old John Lee Taylor Jr. dead, according to police.

Police were called to the lot between a set of apartment buildings along Thompson Avenue between Price and Irwin streets about 6:40 a.m. Witnesses described a man wearing a camouflage jacket running from the scene.

Officers arriving on scene found Taylor, known on the street as "Dopey," on the ground in the parking lot amid 9mm shell casings and a plastic bag of suspected drugs, according to a police affidavit filed in court.

Two witnesses told investigators that they had picked up the victim earlier and gone to look for Sargento because he had Taylor's cell phone, the affidavit says. Though Sargento doesn't live in the apartments, he has been known to hang out there.

The witnesses said they heard Taylor say, "Hey, there you are," before an argument ensued, according to police. The witnesses told police they heard Taylor say something like, "Go ahead, pull the trigger," before hearing seven or eight gunshots, the affidavit says.

The witnesses told police the victim was shot as he lay on the ground and that the shooter then pistol-whipped him before running off, tossing the gun on his way along Price Street, police said.

Police spokesman Lt. Dave Parker said day-shift officers were on their way in at the time of the shooting and joined with the overnight crew to swarm the neighborhood.

"We flooded Mountain View with a plethora of officers," Parker said. "There was not an intersection without an officer for probably a 10-square-block area. It was amazing. There were officers everywhere."

A police dog, Mocha, sniffed out Sargento, who is known on the street as "A," a short time later hiding in a storage shed about two blocks away on Mumford Street, police said. He was taken into custody for questioning and in the afternoon was charged with murder. His bail was set at $500,000 cash.

The parking lot is just north of a Baptist church and a Boys and Girls Club. Hours after the shooting, Taylor's body lay covered in a white blanket with a baseball cap at his feet. Evidence markers dotted the pavement as police snapped photos and inspected a car parked a few feet away from the body.

A bullet that lodged in a wooden parking curb had been pried free by investigators, and a blue Toyota Corolla parked just in front of where the body was found had an apparent bullet ding in its front passenger door.

Court records indicate Sargento has a history of arrests on charges including felony assaults, theft and driving while intoxicated.

Call James Halpin at 257-4589 or e-mail

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