Press Releases

VSU, Parole, SWAT, MCSO Search/Attempted Homicide Arrest

Release Date/Time: 8/11/2017 3:32 PM
Incident: VSU, Parole, SWAT, MCSO Search/Attempted Homicide Arrest
Date: Friday, 8/11/2017
Time: 7:00 AM
Location:  200 block of Paloma Ave in Salinas and 300 block of Palm Ave in Greenfield

Release Authorized by: Commander John Murray
Telephone: 831-758-7250

On 08-11-17, at approximately 7:00 AM, officers of the Violence Suppression Unit, Parole, SWAT, and MCSO served a two-location search warrant authored by VSU. The warrant stemmed from an attempted murder (shooting) that occurred in the area of Front Street and Alisal Street on 7-27-17. SPD SWAT served the first location on the 200 block of Paloma Ave in the City of Salinas, and MCSO SWAT served the second simultaneously on the 300 block of Palm Avenue in the City of Greenfield.

In the course of their investigation, VSU officers identified Marcial Allen Elizalde (29), as the shooter in the 7-27-17 incident.

Early this morning VSU conducted a traffic stop and arrested Marcial Allen Elizalde without incident.

Following Elizalde's arrest, SPD SWAT served the search warrant on Paloma Avenue and MCSO served the warrant in Greenfield. As SPD SWAT served the warrant in Salinas Isaac Gabriel Jimenez (20), ran from the Paloma Avenue residence into the backyard with two guns in hand. SWAT officers confronted Jimenez at gunpoint, de-escalated the situation, and placed Jimenez under arrest. Officers later located a shotgun in the home.

MCSO SWAT simultaneously served the search warrant in Greenfield. A search of Marcial Elizalde's bedroom revealed a Canik 9mm handgun, clothing worn during the evening of the attempted murder, and ammunition.

In total, the search warrant yielded a Winchester 12 gauge shotgun, Canik 9mm handgun, Ruger P85 9mm, Ruger Mark II 22 caliber, and 130 rounds of ammunition. Several communiques with information related to Nuestra Familia prison gang activity were also located at the Paloma Avenue address in Salinas.

The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information is encouraged to call the Salinas Police Department at (831) 758-7321. If you would like to remain anonymous, you can call the Salinas Police Department Tip Line at (831) 775-4222, or the We-Tip Line at 1-800-78 CRIME.

For media inquiries, contact Sergeant Lauricella at 831-758-7361 or the Watch Commander at 831-758-7250.

Homicide Arrest

Release Date/Time: 8/8/2017 12:15 PM
Incident: Homicide Arrest
Date: Tuesday, 8/7/2017
Time:
Location: North Main and E. Lake St

Release Authorized by: Stan Cooper, Commander
Telephone: (831) 758-7350 

On Saturday, January 10, 2015, at approximately 10:00 pm, Officers responded to the intersection of North Main and E. Lake St. on a report of a gunshot victim. On arrival, they found Dexter Barnett Sr. (42) suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. Officers attempted CPR; however, Barnett died at the scene.

Early in the investigation, it was learned the victim had been in a verbal argument that same afternoon; both parties subsequently went their own ways. Since that time, Detectives have been sorting through a variety of witness statements and physical evidence which led them to identify Angel Ramirez (22) as the person Barnett was arguing with. On 8/7/17, Detectives were able to interview Ramirez regarding the incident. At the conclusion of the interview and consultation with the Monterey County District Attorney's Office, it was determined that sufficient probable cause existed to arrest Ramirez for the murder of Barnett. He was later booked at Monterey County Jail for one count of Homicide and participation in a criminal street gang.

Investigations Commander Stan Cooper will be available for media inquiry/interviews at 2:00 pm today in front of the Salinas Police Department.

***Original News Release****

Homicide

Release Date/Time: 1/11/2015 2:39 AM

Incident: Homicide

Date: Saturday, 1/10/2015

Time: 10:09 PM

 

Location: North Main and E. Lake St

 

On Saturday, January 10th at approximately 10:00 pm Officers responded to the intersection of North Main and E. Lake St. on a report of a gunshot victim. On arrival they found Dexter Barnett Sr. (42) suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. Officers attempted CPR, however Barnett died at the scene. 

 

Salinas Police Detectives are looking for any witnesses or anyone who may information regarding this incident. Witnesses are encouraged to contact Detective Gabe Gonzalez at 831-758-7127 or Detective Kristine Fairbanks at 831-758-7322.  If you would like to remain anonymous, you can also call the Salinas Police Department Anonymous Tip Line at 831-775-4222 or the We-Tip-Line at 1-800-78-CRIME.

Ceremony to Swear Daniel M. Ortega in as Interim Assistant Chief of Police Aug. 8

Release Date/Time: 8/5/2017 11:15 AM
Incident: Ceremony to Swear Daniel M. Ortega in as Interim Assistant Chief of Police Aug. 8
Date: Saturday, 8/5/2017
Time: 11:15 AM
Location: Rotunda at Salinas City Hall

Release Authorized by: Sgt. Kim Robinson 
Telephone: 831-758-7250

The Salinas Police Department would like to announce the addition of Daniel M. Ortega, who will serve as the Interim Assistant Chief of Police. The ceremony will be held Tuesday, August 8, 2017 at 3:30 p.m. in the Rotunda at Salinas City Hall.

Assistant Chief Ortega has 43 years of sworn law enforcement experience. In October of 1966, he began his law enforcement career in his hometown, at the Stockton Police Department, where he was a patrol officer for five years before moving to San Jose and joining the San Jose Police Department in June of 1971. During the 28 years he spent at the San Jose Police Department, he worked an assortment of assignments while working his way up through the ranks. As a Captain, he commanded the Special Operations Division. In June of 1999, Ortega retired from the San Jose Police Department as a Deputy Chief in order to accept the position as Chief of the Salinas Police Department. He served the community of Salinas as Chief of Police for ten years before retiring in March of 2009. 

Since retirement, Assistant Chief Ortega has assisted other local agencies in an interim capacity. He was the Interim Police Chief for the Morgan Hill Police Department during 2010 and the Interim Police Chief for the Greenfield Police Department, completing his term in March of 2014. 

Assistant Chief Ortega holds a Master of Science Degree in Management from Cal Poly Pomona, a Bachelor of Science Degree in Human Resources and Organizational Behavior from the University of San Francisco, and an Associate of Arts Degree in Police Science from San Joaquin Delta College. 

Assistant Chief Ortega was born in La Junta, Colorado, and grew up in Stockton, California. He has been married to his wife, Donna, for 38 years. They reside in Salinas and have five adult children and eight grandchildren. His son, Jim Ortega, was recently selected as Police Chief for the Placerville Police Department.  

Arrest of suspect in May 1 double homicide

Release Date/Time: 8/3/2017 5:30 PM
Incident: Arrest of suspect in May 1 double homicide
Date: Thursday, 8/3/2017
Time: 6:30 AM
Location: 1000 block of Santa Ana Rd., Hollister

Release Authorized by: Spencer Critchley, Acting PIO
Telephone: (831) 998-3000

Today at approximately 6:30 a.m., Salinas Police detectives conducted a traffic stop on Juan Soto (19) of Hollister as he left his residence. Soto was taken into custody for the May 1 double homicide on Garner Avenue, in which Antonio Ortega and Emilio Barrera were shot and killed. Immediately following the arrest, a search warrant was served at his residence on the 1000 block of Santa Ana Road in Hollister, CA.

 

Through the course of the investigation, Detectives were able to establish that Soto was the driver of the vehicle the shooter emerged from, and fled back to after the murders.

 

Additionally, Soto has also been identified as the driver in an attempted murder, which took place on May 1st at Mae and Towt Streets. In that case, a 14-year-old male was walking home when the suspect exited the passenger side of a vehicle and asked the victim what gang he belonged to. When the victim denied being involved in gangs, the suspect demanded his phone and shoes. When the victim refused, the suspect stabbed him in the abdomen with a knife before fleeing in the vehicle.

 

Soto was booked into Monterey County Jail on two counts of homicide and one count of attempted homicide.

 

Original Press Release:

 

Release Date/Time: 5/16/2017 2:23 AM

Incident: Homicide

Date: Monday, 5/15/2017

Time: 8:25 PM

Location: 1300 Block of Garner Ave\

 

Officers responded to a victim of a shooting at the 1300 Block of Garner Ave. 41-year-old Emilio Barrera and 28-year-old Antonio Ortega were found suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. Responding units located the victims. Medical staff pronounced the victims dead at the scene. There is no further information at this time. These are the 17th and 18th homicides of the year and are being investigated as gang related.

Homicide Arrest

Release Date/Time: 8/1/2017 7:15 AM
Incident: Homicide Arrest
Date: Sunday, 7/30/2017
Time: 11:54 PM
Location: 300 Block of Main St.

Release Authorized by: Spencer Critchley, Acting PIO
Telephone: (831) 998-3000 

Salinas Police Officers were conducting a walk-through of a restaurant/bar in the 300 block of Main St. Sunday night when they saw Juan Antonio Cervantes, 28, of Salinas inside the establishment. The Officers were aware Cervantes had an outstanding warrant for his arrest related to the September 2008 homicide of Adrian Carranza, which took place in the 2100 block of Perez Street.

 

Cervantes was taken into custody without incident and later booked into Monterey County jail for the outstanding no-bail warrant charging one count of homicide, two counts of attempted homicide, and gang enhancements.

Update: Victim of May 17 bicycle-car collision dies of his injuries

Release Date/Time: 7/26/2017 7:07 PM
Incident: Update: Victim of May 17 bicycle-car collision dies of his injuries
Date: Wednesday, 5/17/2017
Time: 2:25 p.m.
Location: North Main St. and Casentini St.

Release Authorized by: Spencer Critchley, Acting PIO
Telephone: (831) 998-3000

The following is an update of our previous release issued on July 24, 2017. We have been advised by a relative that the date of Charles Lewis' death was July 20, 2017, not July 21 as originally reported. The date is corrected below.

On May 17, 2017 at  2:25 p.m., a vehicle was pulling out of the driveway of the Valero Gas Station just north of the intersection of North Main St. and Casentini St. Charles Lewis, 60, was riding his bicycle southbound on the east sidewalk of North Main St. at high speed. Lewis collided with the vehicle. 

Lewis initially denied he was injured and refused to go to the hospital. He appeared to be in pain, though, and was convinced to go. Once at the hospital, it was determined he had very serious injuries, including to his head and spine. He was placed in the Intensive Care Unit.

On July 20, nearly two months after the collision, Lewis, still in the ICU, died from the injuries he had sustained. 

It does not appear there were any crimes involved on the part of the driver. This was the seventh fatal collision in Salinas this year and the first involving a bicyclist.

Victim of May 17 bicycle-car collision dies of his injuries

Release Date/Time: 7/24/2017 2:48 p.m.
Incident: Victim of May 17 bicycle-car collision dies of his injuries
Date: Wednesday, 5/17/2017
Time: 2:25 p.m.
Location: North Main St. and Casentini St.

Release Authorized by: Spencer Critchley, Acting PIO
Telephone: (831) 998-3000

On May 17, 2017 at  2:25 p.m., a vehicle was pulling out of the driveway of the Valero Gas Station just north of the intersection of North Main St. and Casentini St. Charles Lewis, 60, was riding his bicycle southbound on the east sidewalk of North Main St. at high speed. Lewis collided with the vehicle. 

Lewis initially denied he was injured and refused to go to the hospital. He appeared to be in pain, though, and was convinced to go. Once at the hospital, it was determined he had very serious injuries, including to his head and spine. He was placed in the Intensive Care Unit.

On July 21, nearly two months after the collision, Lewis, still in the ICU, died from the injuries he had sustained. 

It does not appear there were any crimes involved on the part of the driver. This was the seventh fatal collision in Salinas this year and the first involving a bicyclist.

Homicide on Paloma Ave. Sunday night

Release Date/Time: 7/24/2017 11:25 AM
Incident: Homicide
Date: Monday, 7/23/2017
Time: 11:55 PM
Location: 300 block of Paloma Ave.

Release Authorized by: Spencer Critchley, Acting PIO
Telephone: (831) 998-3000

On July 23, 2017 at about 11:55 PM, Salinas Police officers were dispatched to the 300 block of Paloma Ave. on the report of a shooting. While officers were en route, they were advised there was a victim of a gunshot wound at that location. When officers arrived they found 20-year-old Diego Espinoza suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. Officers provided CPR until relieved by medical personnel. Unfortunately, Espinoza was pronounced dead a short time later.

Espinoza, who was a resident of Salinas, had just arrived at a home when he was approached by at least two males. For unknown reasons, the two suspects opened fire and shot Espinoza. They were last seen running onto Margaret St. No good descriptions were provided.

This killing is being investigated as gang-related. The Investigations Bureau is asking anyone with any information regarding this crime to contact Detective Ken Hendrickson at (831) 758-7129 or Detective Justin Heckman at (831) 758-7322. If you would like to remain anonymous, you can call the Salinas Police Anonymous Tip Line at (831) 775-4222, or the We-Tip Line at (800) 78-CRIME.

Salinas Police seek information on inappropriate contacts with children

Release Date/Time: 7/21/2017 3:38 PM
Incident: Salinas Police seek information on inappropriate contacts with children
Date: Friday, 7/20/2017
Time: 3:07 PM
Location: Salinas

Release Authorized by: Spencer Critchley, Acting PIO
Telephone: (831) 998-3000

The Salinas Police are seeking information on inappropriate contact with children that 32-year-old Jesus Ortega of Prunedale may have had.

On July 6, 2017, the mother of a 13-year-old girl contacted the Salinas Police Department regarding some inappropriate messages she found on her daughter's email account. The inappropriate email conversations began in May of this year and were with an employee of the Santa Rita School District's IT Department. The case was forwarded to the Investigations Bureau and assigned to a detective. The family allowed the detective to take over the email account and the detective began correspondence with the adult suspect, Jesus Ortega, age 32. 

Over the course of a few days, Ortega repeatedly emailed what he thought was the 13-year-old female. The conversations turned sexual in nature and Ortega sent an explicit photograph. 

On July 20, Ortega set up a meeting with the victim with the intent to commit sexual acts. Detectives intercepted Ortega on his way to meet the victim and he was arrested without incident. A search warrant was executed at his residence in the Prunedale area, where electronic devices were seized. The Santa Rita School District is cooperating with the investigation and has been helpful with access to Ortega's work-related electronics. 

Ortega was transported to the Monterey County Jail and booked for charges that include:

  • 647.6 PC, Annoy/Molest a Child
  • 311.2(a)(1) PC, Distributing Obscene Material
  • 288.3 PC, Sending Harmful Matter to Seduce a Minor
  • 288.3 PC, Communicate with Minor to Commit Offense
  • 288.4 PC, Abnormal Sexual Interest in Children and others.  

The Investigations Bureau is asking for the public's help with information on any inappropriate contact Ortega may have had with other minors. Anyone who has such information is urged to contact Detective Jared Sivertson at (831) 758-7132 or [email protected]. Those who would like to remain anonymous can call the Police Department's Anonymous Tip Line at (831) 775-4222 or the We-Tip Line at (800) 78-CRIME.

Attempted homicide, Natividad Creek Park

Release Date/Time: 7/20/2017 9:09 a.m.
Incident: Attempted homicide, Natividad Creek Park
Date: Thursday, 7/19/2017
Time: 7:49 p.m.
Location: Natividad Creek Park, Salinas

Release Authorized by: Spencer Critchley, Acting PIO
Telephone: (831) 998-3000

On July 19 at 7:49 p.m., Salinas Police received a call about a person with a head injury near the basketball courts at Nativida Creek Park. 

Officers arrived on scene shortly afterward and found the victim, a 23 year old male, suffering from a gunshot wound to the back of his head. He was still conscious and said that the suspects had walked up from behind, shot him, and then fled. He had managed to walk towards the parking lot before collapsing.

The victim was transported to Natividad Medical Center, where doctors were able to stabilize him.

An area check was made but no suspects were found. Salinas Police are urging anyone with information contact the Investigations Division at (831) 758-7226.

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