By Jeffrey C Mayes, The New York Times
One police officer in Pomona, Calif., was shot and killed on Friday night and another was seriously injured by a gunman who barricaded himself inside an apartment for 15 hours before being taken into custody on Saturday, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said.
The officer who was killed was identified as Greggory Casillas, 30, by the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner.
Chief Michael Olivieri of the Pomona Police Department said that Officer Casillas joined the department in September and was about to complete field training.
(One of two Pomona police officers shot while responding to a barricaded suspect has died, Pomona police Chief Michael Olivieri announced early Saturday morning. Courtesy of CBS Los Angeles and YouTube. Posted on Mar 10, 2018)
Officer Casillas, who is survived by his wife and two children, was “a hero, a man to be looked up to,” Chief Olivieri said during a news conference after the arrest.
“He left his family at home to protect yours, and his ultimate sacrifice will never be forgotten.”
Late Saturday, the sheriff’s department identified the man they had arrested as Isaias De Jesus Valencia, 39, of Pomona.
In a brief statement, the authorities said he would be charged with murder and attempted murder and was being held without bail.
The shooting occurred shortly after 9 p.m. local time, the authorities said. The episode began after officers from Pomona, a city of about 150,000 people 30 miles outside Los Angeles, responded to a call of a person driving recklessly.
They tried to stop the driver, who led them on a pursuit before crashing into a parked vehicle.
“The suspect fled to a nearby apartment complex where he barricaded himself to a bedroom in one of the apartments,” a news release from the sheriff’s department said.
“The officers attempted to contact the suspect when the suspect began to shoot through the door, striking two officers.”
— Beatriz Valenzuela (@BeatrizVNews) March 10, 2018
After Officer Casillas was shot, a second Pomona officer tried to pull him to safety but was shot in the face, Sheriff Jim McDonnell of Los Angeles County said during a news conference.
Other officers extracted the officers who had been shot.
They were taken to Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center, where Officer Casillas died.
The other officer, who was in serious condition, was undergoing surgery and expected to survive.
(A suspected gunman was taken into custody Saturday afternoon at an apartment complex in Pomona, about 15 hours after he fatally shot one of the city’s police officers and seriously wounded another, authorities said. Courtesy of ABC7 and YouTube. Posted on Mar 10, 2018)
Officer Casillas grew up in Los Angeles County and attended local colleges and universities before joining the Pomona Police Department as a record specialist in December 2014.
He became a jailer in September 2015 and was hired as a recruit for the Pomona Police Department.
A Sept. 7, 2017, post on Facebook by Chief Olivieri welcomed Officer Casillas as the “newest Pomona Police Officer,” and said he had just graduated as a part of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department Academy Class No. 207.
“Greg intentionally chose to take different positions within the police department to better prepare himself to achieve his goal to become a Pomona police officer,” Chief Olivieri said at the news conference.
The gunman remained barricaded for 15 hours as officers used flash-bang grenades and tried to negotiate to get him to surrender.
A video recorded by local residents showed officers handcuffing the suspect, who was wearing only his underwear, and placing him in a police vehicle before hugging one another.
Video from local resident Erika Deloza shows the suspect in the Pomona barricade being taken into custody. Man who knows him says he is a convicted felon who suffered from severe mental health issues. pic.twitter.com/ohH2hmzf5r
— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) March 10, 2018
A motive for the shooting was unclear, Capt. Christopher Bergner of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said.
The body of Officer Casillas was escorted by the police to the Los Angeles County coroner’s office.
“It certainly is a sad day for the Pomona Police Department,” Chief Olivieri said.
“It’s a sad day for our community and it’s a sad day for law enforcement in general.”