Two Auburn men sentenced in murder of Kent man at Southcenter Mall

Chris Wesolowicz was shot in a carjacking incident on Nov. 18, 2022.

The King County Superior Court sentenced two Auburn men on June 14 in the 2022 shooting death of a Kent man at Southcenter Mall in Tukwila.

According to documents, 19-year-old Joe Aguilera and 20-year-old Cristopher Ruvalcaba of Auburn, identified as members of a gang, shot and killed 30-year-old Chris Wesolowicz, in addition to injuring Wesolowicz’s wife, in a carjacking incident on Nov. 18, 2022, at the mall. A third suspect, 17-year-old Kevin Diaz-Bautista of Auburn, continues to await a jury trial.

According to charging documents, ballistics testing identified the two firearms Aguilera and Ruvalcaba used in Wesolowicz’s shooting as having been used in an additional five separate shootings. Senior deputy prosecuting attorney Christopher Anderson stated in charging documents that the arrest of the three individuals ended a “shooting spree throughout South King County.”

Judge Andrea Darvas sentenced Aguilera and Ruvalcaba after both men accepted plea deals, pleading guilty on March 25 to a charge of murder in the second degree. The court dismissed a felony charge of theft of a motor vehicle at the sentencing hearing for both men, as per the plea deal.

Friends and family of Ruvalcaba and Aguilera and Wesolowicz, including Wesolowicz’s wife, attended the sentencing hearing.

The court sentenced Aguilera to 10 years and three months in confinement, and sentenced Ruvalcaba to 12 years and six months in confinement in the custody of the Washington State Department of Corrections.

According to court documents, Aguilera was under age 18 at the time of the shooting and will be initially transferred and placed in a facility operated by the state Department of Children, Youth, and Families.

Both men face an additional three years of community custody following confinement.

Diaz-Bautista, 17, continues to await trial for a charge of murder in the second degree.

The King County Superior Court will try Diaz-Bautista, age 16 at the time of the shooting, as an adult as a result of the severity of the charge. The court scheduled Diaz-Bautista’s jury trial for Aug. 12.

Diaz-Bautista remains in the custody of the county’s Patricia H. Clark Children and Family Justice Center in Seattle on $2 million bail.

Courtesy photo
Joe Aguilera.

Courtesy photo Joe Aguilera.