Tuly Lepolo

LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- A man was arrested more than three years after a shooting that killed a woman in the Las Vegas Valley in April 2016, according to an arrest report.

Tuly Lepolo, 48, was arrested on Oct. 25 and was booked into the Clark County Detention Center. Jail records showed he is facing an open murder charge.

According to Lepolo's arrest report, the incident started at a family party at an apartment complex on April 3, 2016. Las Vegas Metropolitan police had been notified of a shooting just before 9 p.m. When officers arrived, they found a woman suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.

The woman, identified by the Clark County coroner as 41-year-old Raquel Stapinski from Las Vegas, was pronounced dead the scene. The coroner confirmed Stapinski died from gunshot wounds to her right arm and armpit. Her death was ruled as a homicide.

During their investigation, Las Vegas police learned there had been two separate parties at the apartment complex that night, the arrest report said. A woman identified in the report only as Dana was hosting a party in building 25, and another woman named Elaine was having a different party in building 26.

Several people associated with the two parties began arguing and fought one another in the parking lot near the apartment buildings, the arrest report said. During the confrontation, Dana's brother, identified as Henry "T-Loc", fired a single shot in the parking lot. The fight broke up and people made their way back to their respective apartments.

A witness to the shooting told Las Vegas police she saw a man go into a white Chevrolet Suburban, retrieve a handgun, walk towards the apartments and fire approximately nine shots at the people standing the hallway in front of the apartment, the arrest report said. 

Other witnesses, some of whom are related to Elaine and Dana, told Las Vegas police the fight started because a few people exited one of the apartments and began arguing with another group in the parking lot. According to the arrest report, a man identified as Dwayne "Wayne Wayne", wanted to fight one of Elaine's family members.

Dana, Dwayne's mother, intervened, which caused Elaine to become involved in the fight, the arrest report said. All the shooting suspects fled the scene before police arrived.

During their investigation, police discovered that Elaine had falsely identified herself as a woman named Maleka, who denied having any involvement in the fight. According to the arrest report, it appeared as though the shooting suspect was related to Elaine and she seemed "to be protecting the suspect."

When speaking to Dana, she told police she didn't know how Stapinski got shot, the arrest report said. She also told police officers she didn't see who was shooting, but thought there was more than one shooter.

Dana also appeared to know the identity of those involved in the shooting, but "did not want to assist investigators and she appeared to be protecting the person(s) involved in the shooting," the arrest report said.

Another witness who also spoke to police said he saw a man walk up from the parking lot area from his bedroom window. According to the arrest report, the man started running towards the group, yelled at them and fired five to six shots towards the group.

In their investigation, police determined the white Suburban was registered to a woman named Elise, the arrest report said. Elise was visiting Las Vegas for a birthday party and had been staying with her in-laws at apartment building 25. She denied anyone would have retrieved a gun from her vehicle as she had the keys the entire night.

Las Vegas police determined one of the suspects fired a 9mm handgun in the entryway of one of the apartments, while the second suspect fired a .40 caliber handgun in the opposite direction, the arrest report said. Stapinski was caught in the crossfire and was hit several times by the second shooter. 

During his interview with police, Dwayne told officers he had been asleep in his room when he heard the shots outside. According to the arrest report, he told police he fled over the back balcony when he heard people entering his apartment because he had a probation warrant. He denied being involved in the fight or the shooting.

When police interviewed Henry, he also denied being at the party the night of the shooting, despite having several people identify him by his moniker, "T-Loc," the arrest report said. It was apparent to police that Dwayne and Henry were lying.

On Sept. 14, 2016, forensic scientists determined that fingerprints recovered from the Chevy Suburban at the scene of the shooting belonged to Lepolo. According to the arrest report, Lepolo was affiliated with the Hoodlum Crips Boys gang and was sometimes known as "Trigger."

Lepolo was found to have ties in San Bernardino County in California, and LVMPD homicide detectives reached out to the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Office for assistance in obtaining a search warrant for a sample of Lepolo's DNA, the arrest report said.

SBCSO found Lepolo living at a residence with Elise, the owner of the white Chevy Suburban. According to the arrest report, Lepolo had access to the car. On April 9, 2017, SBCSO officers began conducting surveillance on Lepolo and saw him drive away in the white Suburban.

A vehicle stop was made and San Bernardino County detectives performed a Buccal Swap test on Lepolo, the arrest report said. Detectives also recovered DNA from the steering wheel and gear shift. On Sept. 11, 2017, the DNA obtained from SBCSO was found to be consistent with evidence recovered at the scene of the shooting.

SBCSO officers attempted to interview Lepolo, but he did not wish to provide a statement and said he was not in Las Vegas at the time of the shooting, according to the arrest report.

"The complex relationships between the party attendees and the shooters resulted in the lack of cooperation during the follow up investigation," the arrest report said. "Investigators believed the witness from both sides knew... the shooters. Investigators also noted that victim Raquel Stapinski was not a blood relative to either side of the suspected shooters, which furthered the lack of cooperation."

An arrest warrant was issued for Lepolo and he was eventually caught by Las Vegas police in October. He is scheduled to appear in court on Nov. 13 at 9 a.m.

Copyright 2019 KVVU (KVVU Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved 

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