TAMPA — Deputies say they have arrested two gang members who robbed and beat a migrant worker to death early Sunday on U.S. 41 in Ruskin.
The Sheriff's Office arrested Jose Palomo, 18, and Luis Miguel Romero, 16, on Monday and charged each with first-degree murder and robbery.
Palomo was booked into the Orient Road Jail, and Romero, who is being charged as an adult, was taken to the Juvenile Assessment Center.
Deputies say that about 2 a.m. Sunday, Roberto Arredondo, 30, was driving on U.S. 41 in Ruskin when he was forced to stop because a' vehicle cut him off. When he stopped, deputies said, the assailants hit him several times with a baseball bat and robbed him.
Arredondo of 718 19th Ave. NE in Ruskin died from his injuries, the Sheriff's Office said. Though detectives said both suspects are gang members, they don't believe the attack was gang related, said Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Debbie Carter.
"They just picked him at random," she said. "He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time."
The assailants fled but Palomo and Romero were later arrested. They confessed to the crime, the Sheriff's Office said. Palomo told detectives he was unable to stop beating the man, and did so to rob him.
Romero of 505 Second St. NW in Ruskin is a member of the Westside Low Life gang, according to the Sheriff's Office. Palomo of 13107 Brant Tree Drive in Riverview is a member of the Southside gang, deputies said.
Romero was also charged on warrants of battery, obstructing or opposing an officer without violence, possession of an alcoholic beverage by a minor and not having a valid driver's license.
Palomo was also charged with possession of marijuana.
Deputies are trying to determine if anyone else was involved in the attack.