Standoff suspect charged in murder of Calif. police officer

POMONA, Calif. – Los Angeles County prosecutors have charged a 30-year-old man with murdering a police officer and trying to kill other officers last weekend.

Isaias De Jesus Valencia was expected to be arraigned Tuesday on a count of murder with special circumstances that could carry the death penalty, although prosecutors have not yet decided to seek capital punishment. According to the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, 20 police officers and another dozen family members waited outside a courtroom on Tuesday morning to attend the hearing, which was postponed until May 1st.

Valencia also faces seven counts of attempted murder and one count each of fleeing a pursuing peace officer’s vehicle and possession of a firearm by a felon. 

Authorities say Field Training Officer Alex Nguyen and Officer Greggory Casillas were among the first on the scene last Friday after a reckless driving suspect led police on a car chase and then barricaded himself in an apartment building in a neighborhood 30 miles east of Los Angeles.

Casillas was fatally shot in the face when shots were fired through a door. Nguyen was struck by gunfire as he tried to rescue Casillas.

Valencia was arrested on Saturday after a 16-hour standoff with police.

According to the Pomona Police Department, Nguyen was released from the hospital Monday after undergoing surgery and is doing well.

The California Association of Highway Patrolman Credit Union has assisted in setting up a memorial fund for Officer Casillas, who is survived by his wife Claudia, his 4-year-old and 5-month-old sons, and two brothers.

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