Prosecutors: Glendale Westgate Shooter Was Targeting Couples

By Ben Giles
Published: Thursday, May 21, 2020 - 2:52pm
Updated: Friday, May 22, 2020 - 8:46am

Armando Hernandez Jr.
Glendale Police Department
Armando Hernandez Jr.

Prosecutors said the 20-year-old in custody on suspicion of shooting three people at the Westgate Entertainment District in Glendale came armed with 90 rounds, and intended to use them, “but for the gun jamming.”

Glendale police identified Peoria resident Armando Hernandez Jr. as the suspect in the Wednesday night shooting, which led to an hours-long lockdown of the popular venue adjacent to the Arizona Coyotes arena and the Arizona Cardinals stadium.

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Sgt. Randy Stewart, a police spokesman, said officers were dispatched within 1 minute of the first reports of the shooting at approximately 7:25 p.m. Wednesday.

“The first responding officers, there was two of them that responded initially first. When they arrived, one of the officers, who is a lieutenant, located the suspect immediately and was able to take him into custody without any further incident,” Stewart said at a Thursday morning press conference.

Stewart said Hernandez told the officers he wanted to harm 10 people in order to “gain some respect.”

At his initial appearance Thursday, prosecutors described Hernandez as a “self-professed incel,” short for involuntary celibate, who was “angry” at society and sought to target couples at Westgate. One prosecutor said Hernandez was “pretty open about the fact that he has a dark side, and his dark side was coming out.”

Randy Stewart
Ben Giles/KJZZ
Glendale Sgt. Randy Stewart, a police spokesman, at a press conference on May 21, 2020.

Prosecutors said he came to the venue armed with an AR-15 and 90 rounds, and was boastful of his actions while broadcasting them on social media. Glendale police would not confirm the firearm used, and only called it a “black assault rifle.”

Stewart did confirm Hernandez was the same individual in a Snapchat video who referred to himself as the “shooter of Westgate 2020.”

Glendale police also provided updates on the victims, and the city’s police and fire chief expressed gratitude that a potentially deadly incident was avoided.

One victim, a 19-year-old male, remains in critical condition. In court, prosecutors said the victim suffered severe blood loss from a gunshot wound to the chest, causing long delays in doctors’ efforts to perform surgery.

Another shooting victim, a 16-year-old girl, was transported to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

A third victim, a 30-year-old woman, was treated at the scene.

A judge ordered Hernandez be held on a $1 million cash bond. He faces 16 felony charges related to the shooting.

Westgate shooting Glendale
Ben Giles/KJZZ
Police direct traffic outside the Westgate entertainment district in Glendale following a shooting on May 20, 2020.

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