The news of Fresno State student Alberto Hinojosa Medina’s arrest on Sept. 26 came as a complete surprise to those who know the 22-year-old social work/pre-psychology major from McFarland.
Medina was charged on Sept. 29 with burglarizing an apartment near the University of California, Los Angeles on Sept. 21; then he entered a second apartment where he allegedly stabbed Andrea DelVesco, 21, to death and set fire to her apartment before fleeing, according to the LA County District Attorney’s Office.
Many knew Medina from his participation in the Midnight Dance Fusion class at the Student Recreation Center. The class is known for its flash mobs on campus, and Medina was a part of the class since it was started in 2011 by AJ Lacuesta.
“I’m just kind of shocked about what happened,” Lacuesta said. “When I first heard about it [on Monday], that was the first time that I heard about it and I didn’t believe it at first because the way he comes off.”
Lacuesta thought it was weird to see Medina in the news because he was texting him the week before. Everything seemed normal with Medina and that he always had a positive attitude. Lacuesta thought Medina would never do what he’s charged with doing.
“Every time we did dances or he was in my class,” Lacuesta said, “he was always friendly, upbeat and he never came off as someone that’s aggressive, putting people down or anything like that.”
The dance instructor said that Medina trained with the Midnight Dance Fusion class over the summer, to prepare for a flash mob during the New Student Convocation on Aug. 24, but soon stopped showing up.
“He was going to do the last flash mob I did for the convocation,” Lacuesta said. “But he stopped halfway through and stopped showing up. I don’t know why.”
Lacuesta said Medina still acted normal toward him, but he wasn’t sure why he dropped out of the dance class.
“But he really wanted to do it, too,” Lacuesta said. “But I don’t know what happened.”
Lacuesta said that the two even hung out with each other over the summer and everything seemed fine. He said that Medina even went dancing with mutual friends from the dance class. This made the arrest even more unreal.
“Everyone I talk to is just kind of shocked, and they just can’t believe all this,” Lacuesta said. “It’s just kind of surreal.”
Medina was a member of the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity at Fresno State. The fraternity released a statement after Medina was arrested:
“Mr. Medina was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity beginning in 2014. Earlier this year, Mr. Medina was expelled from the fraternity for violating the fraternity’s standards for conduct and behavior. We are sorry for the loss experienced by the DelVesco family, and at the time of the incident in question, had no connection to Mr. Medina.”
Fatima Rodriguez was a Zumba dance instructor at the Rec Center and has been close friends with Medina for five years. Rodriguez worked with Medina’s dance class with some choreography and she remembered Medina being an integral part of the class.
“He would be the first one to volunteer,” Rodriguez said. “If there would be a solo part or if somebody needed help to finish choreographing a song where we would have to wear [GoPros] on our foreheads, he would be the first one to volunteer, and he wouldn’t give you no buts about it.”
While Rodriguez is close friends with Medina, he wasn’t the first person she thought of when learning of his arrest.
“You know that when I heard word of this,” Rodriguez said. “The first thing that came to my mind was his brother. His little brother, what’s going to happen to him?”
Rodriguez, a 23-year-old sociology major at Fresno State, knew his family and said that his youngest brother looked up to him very much.
“He sees him as a god,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez felt that Medina’s arrest made it feel like he died.
“It feels like he’s dead because it just hurts that I’m most likely not going to see him for a very long time, or I’m not going to see him at all,” Rodriguez said.
The sociology major saw Medina as a positive voice in her life and would rarely see him angry.
“There was never a time I would actually see him mad or sad,” Rodriguez said. “He [never] would take it out on other people. If anything, he would be like, ‘Hey Fati, do you think you could come over and we could talk for a little bit? Something’s bothering me.’ And I would be like, ‘Yeah, sure. What’s up?’ So then I would go and we would just talk normally and after that he would go back to his positive self.”
Medina’s attitude made the events of the past week hard for Rodriguez to process.
“I’ve never seen a negative side to him,” Rodriguez said. “That makes it even more shocking. Like I can’t believe it. I can’t process it.”
The 23-year-old felt that there were a lot of negative opinions about Medina in light of his arrest, but faced the news nonetheless.
“I’m not saying that what the media is saying isn’t true,” Rodriguez said. “Because sometimes things happen to people who you least expect it from, but it’s just very, very shocking.”