Detectives hope killing of 2 men in University Place not the start of a drug war

TACOMA, Wash. -- Pierce County sheriff's investigators say the two men shot and killed execution-style in a car in University Place on Monday possibly may have been involved in a drug turf war.

Adrian Valencia, 19, and Wilberth Lopez Acala, 22, were found dead with gunshot wounds to the head.

Investigators on Wednesday night said their deaths look like professional hits and may be connected to drug violence.

Earlier this month, detectives in the South Sound busted a major meth and heroin trafficking ring and these murders could be fallout from that.

Detectives believe the two suspects seen in the security video had been in the backseat when they shot the two men in the front seat. You can see the suspects in the video running near 63rd Street W., not far from 62nd and Alameda.

Investigators told Q13 News on Wednesday that both victims were involved in criminal activity and one was involved in weapons and drugs. They're concerned this could escalate.

"If they're willing to do that, and if there are drugs involved, this is something that we are hoping is not escalating into any kind of turf war for drugs," said Pierce County Sheriff's Detective Ed Troyer. "And if we have suspects who are willing to do that kind of brutal killing, we definitely want to put an end to it."

Police are asking neighbors to check their security footage between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. Monday to see if they spot the two suspects.

Crime Stoppers is also offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information that leads to an arrest in this case. You can report it anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS.