Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Police report gives account of events prior to incident

Sierra Vista Herald
March 30, 2011
by Derek Jordan

SIERRA VISTA — More details about the events leading to the pursuit and shooting death of a 19-year-old Douglas man have come to light after the Douglas Police Department released a report on the incident

At about 12:10 p.m. on March 21, Douglas Police Officers were notified that an anonymous caller had reported a gold-colored Chevrolet Avalanche that had just been loaded with marijuana bundles on Van Buren Avenue before leaving the area eastbound on 8th Street, according to the report.

Officer Marcus Gonzalez came into contact with the Avalanche after witnessing it cross 13th Street on B Avenue. Following the vehicle, the officer saw only one occupant, the driver, later identified as Carlos La Madrid.

Gonzalez continued to follow the vehicle and was eventually joined by other officers as the Avalanche turned south onto Avenue D from 14th Street, where it began to accelerate, the report states.

The officer then activated his emergency lights and sirens, after which the Avalanche “began completely disregarding stop signs and speeding away in an attempt to elude police.”

During the pursuit, the vehicle ran a number of stop signs and drove through the Clawson Elementary School zone at an estimated 45 m.p.h., according to the report.

Gonzalez slowed his speed at these points but never lost sight of the vehicle.

The Avalanche eventually continued onto Cochise Avenue southbound into the desert area until it reached the International Border Road.

Here, Gonzalez saw a marked U.S. Border Patrol Chevrolet Tahoe approaching Cochise Avenue eastbound from the border road, and “saw the Avalanche turn slightly west on Border Road and collide with the Border Patrol Tahoe,” the report states.

At this point, the report goes on to say that the officer saw two men standing on top of the border fence near a ladder leading up the fence from the U.S. side, while a third man on the ground on the Mexican side of the fence passed rocks up to them.

La Madrid then exited the Avalanche and ran toward the ladder and began to climb it.

Gonzalez parked his vehicle before reaching the border road and, before getting out of the vehicle, “saw one of the male subjects atop the fence throw three rocks/bricks at the Border Patrol agent as he was exiting his vehicle. Two of the rocks struck the Border Patrol Tahoe’s windshield (narrowly missing the Border Patrol Agent) and the third missing everything altogether,” the statement reads.

While this happened, the second man on top of the fence reached down and grabbed La Madrid’s wrist “as if to try to help him get up the ladder faster.”

Gonzalez then saw the Border Patrol agent draw his sidearm and fire three shots, followed by La Madrid and the man who had grabbed him falling from the fence and to the ground.

The second man on top of the fence returned to the Mexican side and fled the area in a two-door silver hatchback vehicle, while the third person on the ground on the Mexican side left in an unknown direction.

Paramedics were called to the scene as Douglas Police and a Gang and Immigration Intelligence Team Enforcement Mission (GIITEM) detective carried the wounded La Madrid behind Gonzalez’s vehicle.

The second suspect, who is not identified in the report, was secured and also placed behind the vehicle.

First aid was provided to La Madrid by a GIITEM detective and Border Patrol agent until Douglas Fire Department paramedics arrived and transported him to the Southeast Arizona Medical Center.

On Monday, the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office, the lead agency investigating the incident, reported that a second person, Jesus Manuel Chino Lino, 17, was also in the Avalanche at the time of the pursuit.

Chino Lino has been taken into custody and is charged as an adult with possession of marijuana for sale, transportation of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to the sheriff’s office.

When reached for comment Tuesday night, Carol Capas, spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office, said she could not immediately verify if the second suspect mentioned in the Douglas Police report was Chino Lino. She did, however, say that she was not aware of any additional suspects that may have been apprehended.

The Douglas Police report indicates that an officer saw a “large burlap sack with shoulder straps in the rear bed area of the avalanche” after the vehicle was moved away from the border fence.

The sheriff’s office reported that 48.2 pounds of marijuana was found inside the vehicle.

While en route to a Tucson hospital, La Madrid’s condition worsened and he was rerouted to the Sierra Vista Regional Health Center, where he was later pronounced dead.

Chino Lino remains booked in the Cochise County Jail.

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