Culprits remain unknown in four recent homicides

Fifteen Gwinnettians have had their lives taken via homicide in the last two months, a tally that spans 10 separate incidents and includes one officer-involved shooting.

Suspects have been arrested or at least identified in the majority of those cases. Four of them, though, have remained quiet — no suspects or persons of interest have been named. At least publicly, who killed Darinel Lopez, Steven Carden, Roberto Figueroa and Bryan Ritzert remained a mystery as of Friday.

“There is news on the horizon in some of these,” Gwinnett County police spokesman Cpl. Jake Smith said, “but nothing new I can share at the moment.”

For now, authorities are still taking tips on all four cases. Anyone with information should call GCPD at 770-513-5300 or Crime Stoppers at 404-577-TIPS.

— On the afternoon of July 28, the body of 26-year-old Darinel “Dany” Martinez Lopez was found beaten to death in a wooded area near the Bella Vista apartments on Satellite Boulevard in Duluth. He had last been seen the previous morning, leaving his apartment in the nearby The Falls complex.

Authorities believe an unidentified woman — wearing bright pink pants and having car trouble — may have come into contact with Lopez at a gas station at Satellite Boulevard and West Lidell Road. Other than that, the 27 hours he was unaccounted for remain a mystery.

Police do not believe Lopez was involved in any gang activity. He had no criminal record.

— Early on July 29, 28-year-old Marietta man Steven Carden was shot and killed in the parking lot of Norcross’ Celadon Apartments. Friend Thomas Smith was also shot but survived.

Smith reportedly told police that they were walking through the predominantly Hispanic complex off South Norcross Tucker Road when they had a brief conversation with two black males. He was then hit from by behind, Smith said.

Detectives, though, have speculated that the attack may have been drug related.

— On Aug. 16, Roberto Ortega Figueroa’s roommate came home to find his body. Figueroa, 36, was reportedly shot inside the house at 6604 Sevenoaks Drive in unincorporated Tucker.

Little has been released on the case.

— At about 5:15 a.m. on Sept. 2, the body of Bryan Ritzert, 27, was found in the living room of his home on Falling Water Lane. Roommates at the residence in unincorporated Norcross had heard reportedly a commotion earlier in the morning but thought nothing of it.

Signs of force entry and a single shell casing were found. Robbery is a possible motive.

Ritzert was shot once in the chest.