Salinas Police Deal with Violent Weekend Despite Being Short Staffed
MCGTF shoot and kill one suspect; Police find woman’s body on Sunday morning
SALINAS—The Salinas Police Department is handling recent situations the best they can with limited resources after the shooting death of a parolee on Friday evening and the discovery of a woman’s body inside a motel on Sunday morning.
The weekend got off to a rousing start at 6 pm on Friday evening, when members of the Monterey County Gang Task Force witnessed 30-year-old Juan Luis Acuna running down the street carrying a handgun.
“We were in the area looking for him because we had information that he had been linked to recent shootings in Salinas and he had missed an appointment with his parole officer,” Salinas Police Commander Vincent Maiorana said in a press conference. “He was released from prison on April 4th and had been on the highest supervision for a state parolee.”
Acuna continued to run down the street despite being challenged by authorities to stop and drop the gun. He continued to run away until he reached the parking lot near the intersection of Ivy Street and East Market Street. That is where he pulled out another handgun and fired at his pursuers.
A responding officer drove up to the parking lot, striking Acuna with his vehicle and knocking him to the ground. As he made it back to his feet, he raised the two guns, as if he was going to shoot at the officer.
It was at that moment, that members of the Gang Task Force opened fire striking Acuna several times, killing him. No one else was injured during the incident and there was no property damage or injuries to any uninvolved citizens.
All officers that were involved in the shooting incident have been placed on paid administrative leave. “It is policy that all involved officers be placed on leave pending results of the investigation,” Commander Maiorana added.
The number of administrative leaves results in a clerical staffing shortage at the Salinas PD. Officers from other shifts were called in early and some days off were cancelled.
With staffing now at its breaking point and law enforcement working to near exhaustion, working 30 hours collecting evidence, the last thing the Salinas PD needed was another major incident.
But on Sunday morning, that incident occurred as they were called to the Willow Lodge on a report of an explosion and gunshot. When officers arrived with the Salinas Fire Department, they checked the property and found that a small fire had been set inside a motel room.
They also found evidence that a small explosion may have started the fire. After the fire was extinguished, a search of the room revealed the body of an adult female, who has been identified as 23 yars-old Janneli Garcia.
Salinas Police are investigating her death as a homicide, as it appears she was killed before the fire was set. “It appears that she was shot more that once but we are waiting for the results from the autopsy,” Commander Maiorana added.
The owner of the Willow Lodge stated that Ms. Garcia checked in with another female Saturday night. Police are still looking for the other woman that she was with that night and are asking for the public’s help in this case. If you or anyone know the person the victim was with on Saturday night to call the Salinas Police Department at 1-831-758-7250 or their anonymous tip line at 1-831-775-4222 or WeTip at 1-800-78-CRIME
Both of these incidents have left the Salinas PD with a clerical staffing shortage and some calls this weekend were not answered. “We are doing the best we can with the limited resources we have available.” Salinas Deputy Chief Terry Gerhandstein said.
The Californian- 10 Officers on Leave after Friday Shootout in Salinas
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