Man sentenced in 2009 shotgun slaying

A 27-year-old man was sentenced Monday to 20 years to life in prison for gunning down a man and leaving him to die off Route 157 and U.S. Highway 95 in 2009.

Rene Zambada-Jimenez pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in November for killing Ulises Mendez-Rodriguez, 37.

Las Vegas police said Zambada-Jimenez was riding in Mendez-Rodriguez’s vehicle about 6 p.m. Dec. 9, 2009, when he asked Mendez-Rodriguez to pull over. Zambada-Jimenez took a 12-gauge shotgun and shot Mendez-Rodriguez at least five times and stole $200 from him before fleeing in the vehicle.

But Mendez-Rodriguez was still alive. Using a flashlight, he flagged down a motorist, who called 911 .

The 911 recording showed the good Samaritan comforted the victim and gave him water. He told police that Mendez-Rodriguez had named Zambada-Jimenez as the shooter.

The good Samaritan encouraged Mendez-Rodriguez to try to stay still as he lay riddled with gunshot wounds in the remote location, waiting for emergency responders.

The good Samaritan was shocked when he saw an ambulance stop about a mile short of the victim, according to the recording of the 911 call.

A 911 operator tried to explain to the flabbergasted good Samaritan that in violent calls, firefighters and medical personnel will often "hold short" until police have arrived to secure the scene.

"This is just asinine," the good Samaritan told the operator. "Somebody needs help here. There’s nobody around. I mean, I wouldn’t be here if some guy with a gun was running around here," the recording showed.

The 911 operator relayed that information to the emergency responders, who proceeded to the victim.

Mendez-Rodriguez was transported to University Medical Center, where he died a short time later.

On Monday, Judge Donald Mosley sentenced Zambada-Jimenez to 20 years to life in prison.

Prosecutor Roy Nelson argued for the life sentence because of the indifference shown to the victim, who was left to die on an empty road.

Zambada-Jimenez’s defense attorney argued for a 20- to 50-year sentence.

Contact reporter Francis McCabe at fmccabe@ or 702-380-1039.

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