OAKDALE (CBS13) – A 15-year-old boy and a 20-year-old were gunned down in front of an Oakdale store this week, but the suspect’s mother says her son is also a victim.
We now know the accused shooter is an active member of the National Guard. Those close to him suspect he has post-traumatic stress disorder from his last deployment and problems with local gang members.
Ryan Mazzariello’s mother asked CBS13 not to show her face and to disguise her voice in an interview Tuesday. She’s concerned for her safety with her son locked up and accused of gunning down 15-year-old Ruben Mora Jr. and 20-year-old Abel Calderon in front of the Oakdale Market on Sunday night.
“I want Ryan to be protected like any mother would,” she said. “He’s not a killer. He’s a solider.”
She’s not convinced her son is the one who pulled the trigger but fears stress from a peace-keeping mission in Kosovo still haunts him.
“His eyes looked different when he came back from his deployment,” she said. “Something happened there.”
Mazzariello’s best friend, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, said gang members have been after the father of two since a fist fight about a year ago.
“The threats didn’t stop,” said the friend. “They were always constantly brandishing weapons at him. They at one point threatened to rape his wife and daughters in front of him.”
Detectives have yet to release a motive behind the double murder or say if the victims were affiliated with a gang. Mora Jr.’s older sister told CBS13 on Monday that her brother stayed out of trouble.
“My brother never got into any fights, any trouble, always stayed clear of things like that,” Melissa Mora said.
Shortly after the killing, police arrested Mazzariello at his mother’s home. She believes if her son did fire a weapon, he did so in self-defense.
“They’re trained to only pull a gun when someone else did,” she said. “I believe a gun was pulled.”
Mazzariello joined the National Guard about five years ago. He’s expected to be formally charged at an arraignment later this week.