Daniel Perez, pictured with his son, was shot while sitting in a white pickup truck Friday. The 25-year-old's family says he is brain dead.
Photo: Channel 2 Action News
Photo: Channel 2 Action News

More arrests shed light on Cobb shooting death of father of three

The arrests of at least two people on murder charges have started to shed light on the killing of a 25-year-old father of three in Cobb County two weeks ago.

From warrants The Atlanta Journal-Constitution acquired Friday, it appears the death of Daniel Perez started as an armed robbery.

As Acworth police have previously saidPerez was in the passenger seat of a pick-up truck at Shops at Blue Springs near North Cobb High on March 23 when two male suspects approached and one shot him in the head a single time.

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According to warrants, cops have charged five people with felony murder in connection with the crime.

Cobb jail records show four of them have been arrested: Charlton Kariuki, of Smyrna; Brittani Hernandez-Ortiz, of Kennesaw; Maria Mungai, of Acworth; and Devin Thomas, of Kennesaw.

Mugshots (left to right): Charlton Kariuki, of Smyrna; Brittani Hernandez-Ortiz, of Kennesaw; Maria Mungai, of Acworth; and Devin Thomas, of Kennesaw.
Photo: (Cobb County Sheriff's Office)

Acworth police have said the fifth suspect, a 15-year-old, has also been arrested. The fifth suspect listed in a warrant did not appear in the jail log of the Cobb County adult detention facilities.

The AJC is not naming that fifth suspect due to their possible age. 

Thomas and Mungai were arrested Sunday, but Kariuki and Hernandez-Ortiz were booked into jail overnight Monday into Tuesday.

Warrants said the first two arrested — Thomas and Mungai — in addition to the fifth suspect all told police things that implicated themselves in the alleged crime.

The warrants break down each person’s role in the armed robbery-turned-shooting. It appears that fifth suspect, possibly the 15-year-old, was the shooter and is the only suspect facing a charge of aggravated assault with intent to rob.

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Kariuki is accused of buying a .38-caliber handgun for $199.95 and then selling it to “the juvenile” for $112, according to a warrant. Kariuki also allegedly drove the other suspects to Blue Springs for the robbery.

A warrant said Hernandez-Ortiz helped in the plan and execution of the armed robbery.

Thomas, a warrant said, distracted Perez while another suspect came up to the truck and shot and killed the man.

Mungai helped suspects escape and hide after the shooting, a warrant said.

After the shooting, Perez was declared brain dead. He was taken off life support and died March 27, Acworth police confirmed.

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“It’s just sad because he was just taking his brother to a job interview literally that morning,” his sister-in-law, Lucia Gonzalez, told Channel 2 Action News at the time. Perez recently purchased the truck to begin his landscaping business.

His family told Channel 2 that the week before his shooting was the baptism of Perez’s 1-year-old son. Perez has two other children, the oldest a 4-year-old girl. 

He graduated from North Cobb High, but police have said the school was not connected to the shooting.

The four identified suspects remained held without bond Friday afternoon, according to Cobb jail records.

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