Office of Public Affairs & Media Relations
WINDERMERE MAN CHARGED WITH FIRST-DEGREE MURDER IN SHOOTING
The person of interest who became the prime suspect in Tuesday’s shooting death of a 25-year-old Deltona man was charged with first-degree murder this morning in the death of Patrick De La Cerda.
Gregory Bender, 50 (DOB 7/7/1967), is in custody today in the Orange County Jail, where he was booked around 7 a.m. on the murder charge.
Detectives responded to 2525 Howland Blvd. around 11:35 a.m. Tuesday after De La Cerda was found shot to death on the floor of his home. The investigation quickly led to Bender, who was reportedly jealous of De La Cerda and the woman he was dating. Bender had threatened both of them in the past. It was reported that De La Cerda’s girlfriend was granted an injunction for protection against Bender in December 2017, and Bender was served with that injunction by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. De La Cerda was not granted an injunction, but had set up security measures around the property including a gate and surveillance cameras.
De La Cerda’s girlfriend told detectives she received phone calls from Bender while she was at work Tuesday morning. She didn’t answer, but became concerned, and tried to call De La Cerda, who didn’t answer. She left work to check on him. When she got to his home, he’d already been shot and killed.
De La Cerda’s father reported he’d received a strange phone call early Tuesday from an unknown number. The male caller stated he was outside the gate and had a package to deliver to De La Cerda. The father tried to contact De La Cerda to let him know, but never heard back. The father said he had previously heard a voicemail recording of Bender’s voice, and he believes the male caller on Tuesday was Bender.
Detectives also interviewed a woman who reported she found a blue spiral notebook in Gregory’s Windermere home which contained a detailed plan to kill De La Cerda. The plan mentioned using a package delivery and opening the gate.
Upon executing a search warrant at Bender’s home, detectives discovered that plan, along with ammunition that matched the ammunition found at the scene of the homicide. There were also several firearms located throughout the house.
The original news release is below.
Feb. 27, 2018
DELTONA MAN, 25, FOUND SHOT TO DEATH AT HOME
Sheriff’s detectives are investigating after a 25-year-old Deltona man was found shot to death this morning.
Patrick Kane de la Cerda (DOB: 6/5/92) was found dead at his home, 2525 Howland Blvd., around 11:30 a.m.
His death is not believed to be random. Investigators remain at the scene and are actively pursuing leads in the case.
More information will be released when it becomes available.
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