Press Releases

Homicide

Release Date/Time: 7/19/2014 10:58 PM

Incident: Homicide

Report #: 14-070927

Date: Saturday, 7/19/2014

Time: 6:53 PM

Location: 1036 N. Sanborn Rd.

Officers responded to a report of shots fired and a man down. The first officer on scene saw who he knew to be gang members attempt to drag the body of Heron Moran(34) into Moran's apartment. When the gang members saw the officer they dropped Moran's body and ran away. The officer made a medical assessment and it was apparent Moran's condition was grave.  He was transported to Natividad Medical Center where he died of his wounds. Over forty people tried to converge on the officers at the crime scene and had to be forced back before medical aid could be attempted.

Several people at  the scene, gave varying accounts of what occurred and suspect descriptions.  It is believed there may have been an arguement between several people before shots were fired and Moran was killed.  Numerous people were on scene to include friends of Moran but none have come forward with information.

We are asking for anyone with information to contact the Salinas Police Department's crime tip lines at 758-7133 or 775-4222.

Release Authorized by: Sergeant Jeff Gibson

Telephone: (831) 758-7128

Homicide

Release Date/Time: 7/19/2014 12:28 AM

Incident: Homicide

Report #: 14-070898

Date: Friday, 7/18/2014

Time: 7:45 PM

Location: Fairhaven and Haven Alley

Daniel Hernandez(19) was walking on Fairhaven Ave. when he was approached by two hispanic males in their early twenties. No words were exchanged and the suspects opened fire on Hernandez. Hernandez was shot multiple times. The suspects fled to an awaiting vehilce that witnesses describe as a burgundy sedan.  Hernandez was transported to Natividad Medical Center where life saving efforts failed.  

Witnesses in the area were able to provide a vehicle description, but provided very limited supect information.  If anyone has information to provide, they are encouraged to contact Detective Magana at 758-7129 of Detective Fors at 758-7124.  Information can also be left on the crime tip lines at 758-7133 and775-4222. 

Release Authorized by: Sergeant Jeff Gibson

Telephone: (831) 758-7128

Frequently Asked Questions: Officer Involved Shootings in Salinas

First posted May 25, 2014. Updated July 16, 2014, 7:31 PM. (Español)

There have been four officer-involved shootings so far this year in Salinas, when the average is one per year. Many people have questions about the shootings, and we'll do our best to answer them here based on what we know so far. Please note that while the investigations go on, we can't speculate about conclusions, but we can offer information based on the evidence we have and based on police policies.

We'll be adding and updating questions and answers frequently, so please check back if you don't see what you're looking for yet, or if you have a suggestion, please contact us.

All of the people shot by police this year were Latinos. Are the police targeting Latinos?

Absolutely not. But we understand and acknowledge the emotions behind that question.

The Salinas Police Department has long followed strict policies against any form of social injustice. But as a community, Salinas, like much of America, has a painful history of discrimination against minorities. In our case it has often been Latinos who have suffered.

As a community we are still healing from that history – the process is not over.

But it is a fundamental principle for the Salinas Police Department that everyone, no matter what their background, must be treated with fairness and respect. Any police officer who violates this principle faces the strictest sanctions. If you're wondering why you should believe that, please see "Why should I believe you?" below.

Why have so many people been shot by police?

The three shootings by police officers this year are very unusual – in recent years the average for Salinas is one officer- nvolved shooting per year -- out of thousands of arrests and tens of thousands of contacts.

All three shootings are being very thoroughly investigated. When things happen in a cluster like this, it often looks like they must be connected – as in, "suddenly the police are shooting more people." But random clusters of events are common, and there is no evidence these shootings are connected.

If the shootings aren't connected, why did they all involve Latinos?

In Salinas, 77% of the population is Latino. That means that, all other things being equal, nearly 8 out of 10 of the small number of people who commit violent crimes would probably be Latino -- just because nearly 8 out of 10 people who do everything in Salinas are Latino. That includes all the good things, which are far more common.

In reality, more than 9 out 10 of the small number of people who commit violent crimes are Latino -- but not because they're Latino, of course. Mountains of research show that violent crime is more likely in underserved neighborhoods, meaning neighborhoods that suffer from poverty, lack of services and lack of opportunity. In Salinas, those neighborhoods are much more likely to be Latino. In other areas, it's other groups who live in underserved neighborhoods, and those neighborhoods also have higher crime rates.

In short, what we see in Salinas is that when police have contact with a violent person, that person is likely to be Latino, but that's because (a) everyone is likely to be Latino, and (b) violent crime is more common in underserved neighborhoods.

Why did Salinas Police ask the Monterey County District Attorney to handle the investigation of the July 10, 2014 officer-involved shooting of Frank Alvarado?

To get the best answers as fast as possible. Normally, the police department investigates officer-involved shootings and then the DA’s office reviews the investigation. But the police are occupied with other investigations, and this is the busiest time of the year. So to avoid delay, Chief Kelly McMillin asked the DA to take over this investigation from the start.

Why did the police officers shoot Frank Alvarado?

District Attorney Dean Flippo gave a press conference about the shooting the day after it happened and will continue to share information. Only the DA’s office can do that, because it’s their investigation. You can find widespread coverage in the local media, for example in this article from the Monterey Herald.

I read a story that says the Salinas police are guilty of "murders of innocent people" who were unarmed - what do you say to that?

A widely-shared story from AntiMedia.org radically re-interprets a responsibly reported story from ktvu.org. We hope you'll read our corrections, and compare the AntiMedia story to the ktvu.org story they re-interpreted. And if you've shared the AntiMedia story, we hope you'll share the corrections.

Why did the police shoot Carlos Mejia (the man with the shears seen in a cell phone video) when he was walking away from them?

They didn't. When you slow down and zoom in on the cell phone video, you see that the officers did not shoot Mr. Mejia when he was walking away, they shot him when he turned and attacked them with the shears. More context is added by a surveillance camera video as well as by a 911 call from a woman who said Mr. Mejia was trying to break into her house and assault her.

Police Chief Kelly McMillin took reporters through the videos and audio at a press conference on May 22, 2014.

  • See KSBW-TV's analysis of the cell phone video here.

Why didn't the police Tase Mr. Mejia?

They tried to, twice. The first officer fired his Taser, but it malfunctioned. Then the second officer fired his, but one of its contacts struck a telephone pole, which prevented it from having any effect.

Why didn't they shoot him in the arm or leg?

Although you see that happen on TV and in the movies, that's not what police are trained to do. When an armed person attacks, their first priority is to stop the threat to public safety as fast as possible. There are many cases of civilians and police being seriously injured or killed by armed, violent people who have been wounded. So police are trained to use enough force to stop the threat immediately.

Why did they shoot him more than once?

Once someone attacks, police are trained to stop the threat, both to themselves and members of the public. We can't at this point know exactly what the officers' judgment was, but it's common for police to shoot multiple times to stop a threat.

Why did they get close enough for him to attack them?

To stop a violent person with a weapon, police have to gain physical control of him, typically by putting him in handcuffs. They start by ordering the person to drop the weapon and surrender, and then need to get control of the person as soon as possible so they can prevent harm to members of the public.

Why did the police leave Mr. Mejia's body uncovered?

Police never cover a body before investigators arrive, because doing that would contaminate evidence. Instead, out of respect for the dead and in consideratiion of onlookers, they put up a visual barrier. That's what the police did in this case.

What is the police department's policy on use of force?

Please click here for a PDF of our use of force policy document.

Why did the police put up security cameras near the scene of the Mejia shooting?

Witnesses of the incident have reported they've been threatened and intimidated. The cameras are there temporarily to help with the investigation of the threats and intimidation and to help protect the witnesses.

Why have the cameras been taken down?

Two of them had stopped working (this is not uncommon -- we only have a few, and they're quite old), and the third was needed elsewhere.

Why should I believe you?

We expect to be held accountable by our actions, not just our words. Here are some of our actions:

After the recent shootings

  • We know that some people don't trust "cops investigating cops." We think if they could see how strict, thorough and impartial the internal investigations are, they'd change their minds. But because of the level of concern right now, Chief McMillin has asked for a total of three independent reviews of the police department's investigations. In addition to the standard review by the Monterey County District Attorney, Chief McMillin has asked for an additional review by the FBI and a third one by the Civil Rights Division of the US Department of Justice.

Other actions

  • The Salinas Police and the City of Salinas are recognized nationally as leaders in reducing crime through a community-based strategy of prevention, intervention and re-entry services, working to reduce the need for enforcement. Salinas was invited to be a founding member of the President's National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention, which is focused on community-based solutions to crime and on the recognition that "you can't arrest your way out of the problem."
  • Salinas is the leading agency in the Community Alliance for Safety and Peace, (CASP) which brings together community groups, social services, the faith community, local governments and law enforcement around the Prevention-Intervention-Enforcement-Re-entry (PIER) strategy. Even though Salinas is facing severe budget shortages, it dedicates a full-time staff member to serve as the manager of CASP and give it every possible support. The Police Department is also facing shortages, and is seriously under-staffed, but it has assigned two full-time "CASP officers" to the Hebbron Heights neighborhood of the Alisal. These officers, who have been recognized nationally for their work, make very few arrests, devoting almost all of their time to assisting members of the community and building connections among families, neighborhoods, community groups and service providers.
  • Chief McMillin has committed the police department to the legitimacy and procedural justice model of policing, which holds that true authority comes not from the use or fear of force but from the trust of the community. According to a recent KSBW-TV story: "The method recognizes that people want to feel heard, feel respected and want to know their police are neutral and trustworthy." The Salinas Police Department is the first on the West Coast to train all officers in legitimacy and procedural justice.
  • The Salinas Police Department is among the pioneers in using the Operation Ceasefire strategy, which has led to dramatic reductions in violence in cities across the country while improving relationships between police and the communities they serve. Operation Ceasefire's originator, David Kennedy, mentions the Salinas Police in his ground-breaking book Don't Shoot: One Man, A Street Fellowship, and the End of Violence in Inner-City America.
  • Chief McMillin was recognized by the White House in 2012 as a Champion of Change. The recognition was for his work to prevent youth violence within the community through Operation Ceasefire and the CASP strategy.

Preguntas Más Frecuentes: Recientes Tiroteos en Salinas

Actualizado el 11 de julio. 2014, 8:22 am. (For English version, click here.)

Ha habido cuatro tiroteos con intervención policial en lo que va de año en Salinas, cuando el promedio es de uno por año. Muchas personas tienen preguntas acerca de los tiroteos, y haremos nuestro mejor esfuerzo para responder aquí basándonos en lo que sabemos hasta ahora. Tenga en cuenta que mientras la investigación continúa, no podemos especular sobre las conclusiones, pero podemos ofrecer información basada en la evidencia que tenemos y en base a las políticas policiales.

Estaremos agregando y actualizando las preguntas y respuestas frecuentes, por favor vuelva si no encuentra lo que está buscando todavía, o si tiene alguna sugerencia, por favor póngase en contacto con nosotros.

Las personas que la policía disparó este año eran latinos. ¿Está la policía apuntando a los latinos?

Por supuesto que no. Pero entendemos y reconocemos las emociones detrás de esta pregunta.

El Departamento de Policía de Salinas ha seguido siempre las políticas estrictas contra cualquier forma de injusticia social. Pero como comunidad, Salinas, al igual que gran parte de América, tiene una historia dolorosa de la discriminación contra las minorías. En nuestro caso, han sido a menudo los latinos los que han sufrido.

Como una comunidad todavía estamos recuperándonos de esa historia; y el proceso no ha terminado.

Pero es un principio fundamental para el Departamento de Policía de Salinas que todos, sin importar de su origen, deben ser tratados con justicia y respeto. Cualquier oficial de policía que viole este principio se enfrenta a las sanciones más estrictas. Si te está preguntando por qué usted debe creer que, por favor, consulte la sección "¿Por qué se debería creerle?" a continuación.

¿Por qué tantas personas han sido disparadas por la policía?

Los tres disparos de agentes de la policía este año son muy inusual - en los últimos años el promedio de Salinas es de un tiro por oficial por año.

Los tres disparos se están investigando muy a fondo. Cuando las cosas suceden en un grupo como éste, a menudo parece que deben estar conectados; como en, "de repente la policía está disparando a más personas." Pero las agrupaciones aleatorias de eventos son comunes, y no hay evidencia de que estos tiroteos estén conectados.

Si los disparos no están conectados, ¿Por qué todos implican los latinos?

En Salinas, 77% de la población es latino. Eso significa que, siendo todo lo demás igual, casi 8 de cada 10 de la pequeña cantidad de personas que cometen delitos violentos, probablemente habría Latino - sólo porque casi 8 de cada 10 personas que lo hacen todo en Salinas son latinos. Eso incluye todas las cosas buenas, que son mucho más comunes.

En realidad, más de 9 de 10 de la pequeña cantidad de personas que cometen delitos violentos son latinos - pero no porque sean latinos, por supuesto. Montañas de investigaciones muestran que el crimen violento es más probable en los barrios marginados, es decir, barrios que sufren de pobreza, falta de servicios y falta de oportunidades. En Salinas, esos barrios tienen muchas más probabilidades de ser latinos. En otras áreas, hay otros grupos que viven en barrios marginados, y esos barrios también tienen mayores estadísticas de delincuencia.

En pocas palabras, lo que vemos en Salinas es que cuando la policía tiene contacto con una persona violenta, es probable que esa persona sea latino, pero eso es debido a que (a) la mayoría de la población es latino, y (b) el crimen violento es más común en barrios desatentados.

¿Por qué la policía dispara Carlos Mejía (el hombre con las tijeras visto en un video de teléfono celular) cuando él se alejaba de ellos?

Ellos no lo hicieron. Al reducir la velocidad y zoom en el vídeo del teléfono celular, se ve que los oficiales no le disparó al Sr. Mejía cuando él se alejaba, le dispararon cuando se volvió y les atacó con las tijeras. Más contexto se añade por una cámara de video vigilancia, así como por una llamada al 911 de una mujer que dijo el señor Mejía estaba tratando de entrar en su casa y su asalto.

El jefe de policía Kelly McMillin llevó a los periodistas a través de los videos y de audio en una conferencia de prensa el 22 de mayo de 2014 (Inglés):

¿Por qué no lo hizo la policía Tase a Sr. Mejia?

Lo hicieron. El primer oficial disparó su pistola Taser, pero no funcionó. A continuación, el segundo oficial disparó, pero uno de sus contactos golpeó un poste de teléfono, lo que impidió que surtiera efecto.

¿Por qué no le dispararon en el brazo o en la pierna?

Aunque se ve que eso suceda en la televisión y en las películas, eso no es lo que la policía está entrenada a hacer. Cuando una persona ataca armada, su primera prioridad es detener la amenaza a la seguridad pública lo más rápido posible, y eso es lo que están capacitados a hacer. Hay muchos casos de civiles y policías gravemente heridos o muertos por personas armadas y violentas que han sido heridos. Así que la policía está entrenada para usar la fuerza suficiente para detener la amenaza de inmediato.

¿Por qué le disparan más de una vez?

Una vez que alguien ataca, la policía está entrenada para detener la amenaza, tanto para ellos como a los miembros del público. No podemos en este momento saber exactamente lo que fue el juicio de los oficiales, pero es común en la policía de disparar varias veces para detener una amenaza.

¿Por qué se acercan lo suficiente para que él los ataque?

Para detener a una persona violenta con un arma, la policía tiene que hacerse con el control físico de él, por lo general al ponerlo con las manos esposadas. Comienzan por pedirle a que deje caer el arma y le entrega, la necesidad de obtener el control de la persona tan pronto como sea posible para que puedan prevenir el daño a los miembros del público.

¿Por qué losnpolicías dejaron el cuerpo del Sr. Mejía descubierta?

La policía nunca cubren un cuerpo antes de que lleguen los investigadores, porque haciendo eso contaminaría evidencia. En su lugar, por respeto a los muertos y en la consideración de los espectadores, que ponenuna barrera visual. Eso es lo que la policía no hizo en este caso.

¿Cuál es la póliza del departamento de policía en el uso de fuerza?

Por favor, haga clic aquí para obtener un PDF del documento de póliza de nuestro uso de fuerza. (Inglés).

¿Por qué los policías colocaron cámaras de seguridad cerca de la escena del tiroteo del Sr. Mejia?

Los testigos del incidente han informado de que han sido amenazados y intimidados. Las cámaras están allí temporalmente para ayudar con la investigación de las amenazas y la intimidación y para ayudar a proteger a los testigos.

¿Por qué debería creerle?

 Estamos dispuestos a asumir la responsabilidad por nuestras acciones, no sólo nuestras palabras. Estas son algunas de nuestras acciones:

Después de los tiroteos recientes

  • Sabemos que algunas personas no confían en "policías investigando a policías." Creemos que si pudieran ver cómo; estrictas, exhaustivas e imparciales las investigaciones internas son, tendrían cambian de opinión. Pero debido al nivel de preocupación en este momento, el jefe McMillin ha pedido un total de tres revisiones independientes de investigaciones del departamento de policía. Además de la revisión estándar por el Fiscal de Distrito del Condado de Monterey, el jefe McMillin ha pedido una revisión adicional por parte del FBI y un tercero por la División de Derechos Civiles del Departamento de Justicia de EE.UU.

Otras acciones

  • La Policía de Salinas y la Ciudad de Salinas son reconocidos a nivel nacional como líder en la reducción de la delincuencia a través de una estrategia basada en la comunidad de los servicios de prevención, intervención y re-entrada, que trabaja para reducir la necesidad de una aplicación. Salinas fue invitado a ser miembro fundador del Foro Nacional del Presidente sobre la Prevención de la Violencia Juvenil, que se centra en las soluciones basadas en la comunidad con el crimen y en el reconocimiento de que "no se puede detener a su manera de salir del problema."
  • Salinas es la agencia líder en la Alianza Comunitaria para la Seguridad y la Paz, (CASP), que reúne a grupos de la comunidad, los servicios sociales, la comunidad de fe, gobiernos locales y las fuerzas del orden en torno a la prevención-intervención-Ejecución-Re-entra (PIER) estrategia. A pesar de que Salinas se enfrenta a la escasez de presupuesto severo, dedica un miembro del personal de tiempo completo para servir como el director del CASP y darle todo el apoyo posible. El Departamento de Policía también se enfrenta a la escasez, y es muy insuficientemente atendido, pero se ha asignado dos de tiempo completo "oficiales CASP" al barrio Hebbron Heights del Alisal. Estos funcionarios, que han sido reconocidos a nivel nacional por su trabajo, hacen muy pocos arrestos, dedicando casi todo su tiempo a ayudar a los miembros de las conexiones de la comunidad y de la construcción entre las familias, barrios, grupos comunitarios y proveedores de servicios.
  • El jefe McMillin ha comprometido al departamento de policía a ser un modelo de legitimidad y justicia de procedimiento de la policía, que sostiene que la verdadera autoridad no proviene de la utilización o el miedo de la fuerza sino de la confianza de la comunidad. De acuerdo con una reciente historia KSBW-TV: "El método reconoce que la gente quiere sentirse escuchada, respetada y quiere saber que sus policías son neutrales y de confianza." El Departamento de Policía de Salinas es el primero en la costa oeste para formar a todos los funcionarios de la legitimidad y la justicia procesal.
  • El Departamento de Policía de Salinas es uno de los pioneros en el uso de la estrategia de Operación Cese al Fuego, que ha llevado a una reducción drástica de la violencia en ciudades de todo el país, mientras he mejorado de las relaciones entre la policía y las comunidades que sirven. El fundador de la Operación Alto el fuego, Sr. David Kennedy, menciona la Policía de Salinas en su libro pionero No Tire: Un Solo Hombre, Una Calle Fraternal, y el Fin de la Violencia en Inner-City América.
  •  El jefe McMillin fue reconocido por la Casa Blanca en 2012 como un Campeón del Cambio. El reconocimiento fue por su trabajo para prevenir la violencia juvenil dentro de la comunidad a través de Operación Alto el Fuego y la estrategia CASP.

Felon in Possession Firearms etc.

Release Date/Time: 7/12/2014 4:14 PM

Incident: Felon in Possession Firearms etc.

Report #: 14-070568

Date: Saturday, 7/12/2014

Time: 2:12 PM

Location: 200 block of Harvest

Salinas Police Department's Violence Suppression Unit arrested Jesus Cervantes (34) in the 200 block of Harvest St for a felony warrant.  Cervantes is a convicted felon and was in possession of meth and a loaded firearm.  A search of his apartment was conducted and another handgun was found in his closet.  Cervantes was lodged into county jail for charges including felon in possession of a loaded firearm, possession of methamphetamine and his outstanding warrant.

Release Authorized by: Sgt. Gray

Telephone: (831) 758-7250

Media Availability re: Investigation of Officer Involved Shooting

Salinas Police Officers were involved in a shooting this morning at about 5:00AM.  Chief McMillin has requested that the Monterey County District Attorney investigate this shooting.  Any questions regarding the shooting should be directed to District Attorney Dean Flippo at 831-755-5470.

 

Chief McMillin will be available to answer questions regarding this process this morning, July 10 at 11:00AM in the City Hall Rotunda.

Attempted Murder

Release Date/Time: 7/7/2014 11:30 PM

Incident: Attempted Murder

Date: Monday, 7/7/2014

Time: 8:30 PM

Location: 100 block Orchard Ave

A 24 year old male was standing outside an apartment complex in the 100 block of Orchard Ave when he observed a newer, red, Honda drive by.  The driver made a gang reference and the victim told the driver he was not involved in gangs,  the vehicle then continued on. A short time later, the same vehicle came back and the driver, described as a heavy set male wearing a blk hoodie, and checkered shorts got out and began firing.  The victim was struck two times as well as a nearby apartment and the laundry room.  The victim was transported to a local hospital for non life threateneing injuries.

Release Authorized by: Stan Cooper, Commander

Telephone: (831) 758-7250

Burglary

Release Date/Time: 7/7/2014 10:53 PM

Incident: Burglary

Date: Monday, 7/7/2014

Time: 9:00 AM

Location: 942 Lupin Dr.--American Red Cross

Sometime between 7/3 and 7/7 someone broke into  three trailers in the side parking lot of the Red Cross. They gained entry by cutting the locks and stole 2 portable generators, 7 heavy duty lights, 2 car batteries, cables and 12 military style, clamshell cots. These are items used by the Red Cross for emergency response and disaster relief.  If anyone has information regarding potential suspects and/or the location oft he missing items, please contact the Salinas Police Department or the WeTip Hotline1 800 78 CRIME (27463).

Release Authorized by: Stan Cooper, Cmdr

Telephone: (831) 758-7250

Fatal Hit and Run

Release Date/Time: 7/6/2014 11:48 AM

Incident: Fatal Hit and Run

Report #: 14-070208

Date: Saturday, 7/5/2014

Time: 2:49 AM

Location: Natividad/Los Coches

A 27-year-old male was riding his bicycle westbound through the north crosswalk at Natividad Road at Los Coches Avenue against a red light. A light colored, possibly white, 4 door sedan drove northbound through the intersection and struck the man launching him over 150 feet. The driver fled north on Natividad Road. The bicyclist suffered massive head trauma and internal injuries. He was pronounced dead at the scene. During the preliminary investigation, a Salinas PD traffic investigator estimated the vehicle speed at approximately 70 mph. The driver has not yet been located and the case is still under investigation. The Salinas Police Department Traffic Unit is looking for addition witnesses. Anyone with additional information should call Officer Lek Livingston (831) 758-7980 or Sergeant Gerry Ross at (831) 758-7975. This is the 6th fatal traffic collision in Salinas this year and the first involving a bicyclist.

Release Authorized by: Gerard D Ross

Telephone: (831) 758-7975

Suspect Named in Maria Ceja Homicide

Release Date/Time: 7/5/2014 8:12 PM

Incident: Suspect Named in Maria Ceja Homicide

Date: Saturday, 7/5/2014

Time: 8:12 PM

Location: Salinas

Release Authorized by: Spencer Critchley, Acting PIO

Telephone: (831) 998-3000

The suspect in the early morning stabbing death of Maria Ceja has been named: He is Florencio Anselmo, 36, of Salinas.

Ceja, 44, was stabbed to death shortly after midnight today near her home on Central Avenue. Anselmo was taken into custody late this afternoon at an apartment on San Benito Street.

 

 

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