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Suspects sought in Duluth slayings

DULUTH - Investigators have yet to identify suspects in a double-homicide that occurred sometime Tuesday in a Duluth apartment complex - the city's first murders of the year, an official said.

Capt. Mark Hunter of the Duluth Police Department said the shootings happened sometime after 7:50 a.m. Tuesday, when one of the two slain men was seen alive. A relative reported finding the bodies about eight hours later.

The victims, Valente Carbajal-Otero, 29, and Erik Eliezer Vallecillo-Matute, 28, both Hispanic men, were found Tuesday at 2836 Northwoods Lake Court. Vallecillo-Matute lived in Norcross and was visiting the ordinarily quiet Promenade at Berkley Apartments off Peachtree Industrial Boulevard.

Hunter said the apartment where the victims were found showed no signs of forced entry or a struggle inside. The men were shot by at least one other person, he said.

A motive for the shootings is still unclear.

"I cannot say with any certainty at this point in time" what may have prompted the slayings, Hunter said.

This much is certain: The multiple shooting is a rarity for Duluth.

In the decade between 1995 and 2005, Duluth police recorded four homicides, according to criminal investigation statistics on the department's Web site. The city went without a murder in 2005.

Gwinnett Daily Post archives indicate the lone Duluth murder in 2006 involved a 64-year-old woman who was stabbed to death at her home Sept. 11. The woman's neighbor, Johnny Alvenio Culpepper, was indicted on three murder charges in December for the killing.

The last multiple homicide in Duluth occurred in 2000, involving a person who killed two people and then committed suicide, Hunter said.

In his 18 years with Duluth police, Hunter said Tuesday's double-homicide is the only case he's seen involving multiple slayings.

"It's a rare occurrence, absolutely," he said.