A standoff between authorities and an armed suspect resulted in one officer’s death and the wounding of another in Pomona, California, located approximately 30 miles outsides of Los Angeles.
The suspect has been identified as 39-year-old Isaias De Jesus Valencia, of Pomona, who was arrested Saturday afternoon following an approximate 15-hour standoff, ABC 7 reported.
The suspect barricaded himself inside of an apartment building before allegedly fatally shooting 30-year-old Pomona Police Officer Gregory Casillas following a pursuit, authorities reported.
A neighbor and acquaintance of Valencia spoke with Heavy and described the suspect as someone who “fed the homeless,” and as a man “who would do anything to help anyone.” He said Valencia served in the military, and believes the tragedy could’ve been prevented with the right mental health programs in place.
Valencia was booked on suspicion of murder of a police officer and attempted murder of other officers. He is being held on $1 million bail, according to court records.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. He Allegedly Shot 2 Officers, Killing 1
Pomona Police Chief Michael Olivieri provided the public with updates on the standoff situation via Twitter throughout Friday evening and Saturday.
“It is with a heavy heart that I must report that one officer did not survive,” the chief tweeted. “The second officer is in stable condition.”
The second officer has not been identified, and was undergoing surgery Saturday.
On September 7, 2017 the chief welcomed Casillas as the “newest Pomona Police Officer” via Facebook:
“Your newest Pomona Police Officer, Greg Casillas, graduated San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department Academy Class #207 tonight. Congrats and welcome aboard!”
2. He Was Barricaded Inside of an Apartment Building Overnight
According to Capt. Christopher Bergner of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the standoff began as a police pursuit after a call about a reckless driver came in at about 9 p.m. on March 9. Officers then reportedly chased Valencia after he ran into an apartment building.
“The suspect ran into an apartment complex and the officers gave chase,” Bergner stated at a press conference. “As he barricaded himself in a bedroom, officers attempted to contact him. He then began firing through the door, striking the two officers.”
3. A Neighbor Said He Served in the Military & Was in ‘Extreme Need of Mental Health Care’
Heavy spoke with a neighbor and acquaintance of Valencia who said the man had nothing against police officers or the government, adding that he was in “extreme need of mental healthcare.”
“He was a generous father and family man,” Amos Young Jr. told Heavy.
It is an extremely tough time for his family, our family, our community and law enforcement across the nation.
Isaias’ family are long, longtime community stakeholders in Pomona. They are a family who have put their children through our public school system. Isaias Valencia fought for our country and for the United States Army. He is a man who would ride his bike or drive his car down Pomona street, and while hurting himself he would reach out a hand to give funds to someone who needed it.
He was a young man who had a disconnect following his return from the military. And a lack of services being offered in Pomona in particular…which he had to trust and understand were there to help him,not to hold him back. He had the mindset that he had to just deal with the problems himself. There was poverty, a lack of access to programs, a lack of access to a support system outside of his family. With the right programs, this could have been prevented.
He was well-known for being a giver. To me he did not have anything against the police officers…in his mind he was fighting for his life. He saw demons. He was not anti-police and he was not anti-government. He fed the homeless, that’s the kind of person that he was.
Young prayed with Valencia’s family Saturday night, and expressed that this has been and will continue to be a very dark time for all who have been affected by the tragedy.
4. Multiple Law Enforcement Agencies Joined In a Procession for the Late Officer
Multiple law enforcement agencies escorted the body of Casillas to the Los Angeles coroner’s office.
“Another hero gone too soon,” LAPD Chief Charlie Beck tweeted. “These tragedies are occurring too often, and the pains of sacrifice will never be forgotten. Our thoughts and prayers are with the @PomonaPD today.”
5. The Crime Rate in Pomona is 24% Higher Than the National Average
According to areavibes.com, the crime rate in Pomona is 24% higher than that of the national United States average.
The website states:
According to the annual crime data, the crime rate in Pomona, CA is 18% higher than the average of the whole of the state of California, and when compared with the national average, is 24% higher than. When looking at violent crimes, Pomona, CA has 12% higher than violent crime rate than California average, while remaining 29% higher than the national average. In property crime, Pomona, CA is 19% higher than the average of California and is 24% higher than the national average.