Bail set at $250,000 for carjacking suspects

Derek M. Melendez

Derek M. Melendez

The survivor of a Tuesday morning carjacking was shaking as she described how one of the suspects pressed a gun to her chest before taking the keys to her car.

“I truthfully thought I was going to die,” said the mother of five children. “As I was running away I told myself not to turn around because I didn’t want to be shot in the face.”

Bail was increased to $250,000 cash for Derek M. Melendez, who appeared at a hearing in East Fork Justice Court on Thursday.

Melendez was one of two men arrested on Tuesday morning after an attempted carjacking at the Smith’s gas station in Gardnerville.

Prosecutor Chelsea Mazza said Melendez, 30, had a .16 blood alcohol content when he was arrested within minutes of the 6:15 a.m. attempt and was in possession of a handgun while under the influence.

Melendez and Markleeville resident Niquoia Winterhawk Lundy, 40, were taken into custody less than a quarter-mile away in the neighborhood behind Smith’s, according to Douglas County Investigator Scott Battcher.

The two men were allegedly involved with a homicide in Dresslerville around an hour before the alleged carjacking attempt.

Mazza said she has spoken with the FBI and the Washoe Tribe and that she expects there to be a federal hold on the two men in the near future.

Justice of the Peace Paul Gilbert altered bail from bondable to cash for Melendez. He is scheduled to return to court with an attorney on June 7.

Mazza asked for another week to make a charging decision against Lundy and that he remain in custody.

“There is still a lot of ongoing investigation,” she said.

Attorney Matthew Ence argued that Lundy wasn’t facing any charges and should be released on his own recognizance, which Mazza argued against. Gilbert left Lundy’s bail at $250,000 bondable.

One concern Mazza expressed was that were the two men released, they would be arrested on a possible homicide charge and that would delay the state’s prosecution.

Dresslerville is Washoe Tribe land and is under federal jurisdiction.


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