MERCED, Calif. – Jaime Caudillo and Steven Rincon stood trial for shooting at former Merced Police Officer Ryan Rasmussen during a routine traffic stop in Merced, California on Feb. 28, 2015. Rasmussen, who lost his right pinky finger in the encounter and was forced to retire from police service, said Caudillo “stripped me of my career.”
On Monday, the men smiled and laughed as the judge handed them both life sentences.
The two California gang members were convicted of attempted murder of a police officer.
According to prosecutors, Caudillo, the passenger, fired at Rasmussen as Rincon sped off. Rasmussen was hit in his bulletproof vest and his hand.
Fellow officers fired at Caudillo, hitting him at least once, the Merced Sun-Star reported. The suspects fleeing the scene led to a 10-hour manhunt involving multiple law enforcement agencies that finally ended with the arrest of Caudillo and Rincon.
In May, Caudillo was found guilty of shooting Rasmussen, and Rincon of being the getaway driver. Both were charged with attempted murder, the report said.
The smiles and laughter at the sentencing were not the only time the pair showed a lack of concern for what they had done or the gravity of what was happening.
Merced County Judge Carol Ash said neither gang member appeared to express remorse during the trial.
“I pray that they ask God for forgiveness,” said Rasmussen’s mother, Judith, as Rincon reportedly laughed and shook his head.
Caudillo was sentenced to 50 years and eight months to life in prison, while Rincon received 80 years to life in prison. Rincon, a third-strike offender, already was facing charges for a jailhouse murder, according to court records.
The men’s attorney said they would be appealing their sentences and convictions.
Gang members laugh as judge sends them to prison for shooting Merced police officer https://t.co/Jh0Yy2fpvN
— Fresno Bee (@FresnoBee) August 20, 2019
Gang violence towards cops is nothing new. And it certainly hasn’t slowed down since this 2015 shooting.
We currently have gang-affiliated people threatening a cop in Mississippi. The Moss Point officer who was involved in the fatal shooting of an armed suspect is now living in fear for his life and the safety of his family members. In the last few days, we’ve received reports that a hit is out on the officer who pulled the trigger.
Multiple officers in the Moss Point, Mississippi area may be targeted by associates of Touissant “Dime Sack” Sims following the officer involved shooting earlier this month that ended Sims’ life.
Intel reveals there may be a coordinated effort to kill officers involved in the shooting, leading the officer in question to do anything to protect his family.
The threat of violence has gotten so bad, the officer has had no choice but to setup Kevlar vests around his daughter as she sleeps. As members of the police community… this is nothing short of heartbreaking.
Several of Sims’ associates have made threats to cause harm to members of law enforcement agencies and may have found information on where local officers reside.
Sims’ associates are believed to be traveling to the Moss Point area from California and Florida.
All departments in the area were warned to stay on high alert due to the threats, as they could easily end up being targets themselves.
Officers have been strongly encouraged to demonstrate extraordinary situational awareness.
According to reports, Sims’ own mother filed charges on him just a short time prior to the incident for allegedly breaking into her home and stealing his stepsister’s vehicle. It was noted that Sims’ mother was upset with the Moss Point department for failing to catch Sims prior to the shooting. Sims also reportedly had several active felony warrants in multiple cities, including one for severely beating his girlfriend with a pistol, knocking her teeth out.
Sims has additionally fled from officers during high-speed vehicle pursuits. In one of those chases, the vehicle apparently reached dangerous speeds and the chase was called off when police realized Sims had a child with him in the vehicle. During that same pursuit, officers reportedly saw Sims throw an assault rifle from the vehicle, which was recovered.
A recent video from Snapchat shows what appears to be a pistol with an extended magazine sticking out of Sims’ waistband — the exact same place that he allegedly had the gun on the day of the shooting. The officer’s attorney additionally described the pistol that was recovered at the scene similarly — a handgun with the same type of extended magazine.
So, when the public comes out and frames Sims as an innocent man who was brutally gunned down and ‘assassinated’ by police, we can see that those claims are completely false.
The shooting resulted after Sims, who was wanted on several felony warrants, fled from police in a vehicle resulting in a chase in early August.
Sims crashed the vehicle he was operating and continued on foot. Officers pursued hoping to use a taser to subdue to him, however, when Sims reached for a gun in his waistband, one of the officers responded with gunfire.
We also recently reported the sad news regarding the murder of LAPD Officer Juan Diaz, and followed up a week later, after the Los Angeles Police Department arrested three people on Friday in connection with that killing.
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Diaz, 24, was off duty when he was gunned down last Saturday as he confronted a group of vandals.
According to Fox News, the department’s SWAT team, the Metropolitan Division and other local law enforcement divisions helped arrest the suspects in Riverside, Murrieta and Temecula, outside the city, Mayor Eric Garcetti said at a press conference.
It came at the end of a six-day manhunt and ended with three suspects being taken into custody in Riverside, Murrieta and Temecula.
The three – two men and a woman – were identified as Francisco Talamantes, 23; Cristian Facundo, 20; and Ashlynn Smith, 18.
The three are all residents of Temecula and were arrested on suspicion of murder with a gang allegation, police said.
They are being held without bail.
“Today’s and this morning’s operations represent significant steps on the road to justice for [Officer] Juan Diaz, the others who were with him that night and his entire family,” said LAPD Assistant Chief Beatrice Girmala. “Everything is fresh. Interviews and such have not taken place.”
According to investigators, they got a break when they learned the identity of the alleged triggerman.
They used surveillance by plainclothes detectives and intelligence.
Robbery-Homicide Division detectives were then able to hunt down the location of those believed to be involved in the shooting.
The suspects were under watch by the department’s Special Investigation Section, a unit that’s known for its advanced surveillance techniques, for several days while detectives put together evidence tying them to the killing.
Even as those arrests were being carried out, additional search warrants were being executed across parts of Los Angeles County, including in Glassell Park and Mt. Washington.
“These are the folks we believe are responsible for that senseless murder of Juan Diaz,” LAPD Assistant Chief Director Beatrice Girmala said at that same press conference.
Police Chief Michael Moore, who is out of the country, tweeted:
“Through due diligence and a penchant for justice, we have moved one step closer to bringing justice to fallen LAPD Officer Juan Diaz and his family. We continue to offer prayers and condolences to his family during this unimaginably difficult time.”
The Los Angeles Police Protective League, which represents close to 10,000 members of the department, released a statement:
“We are grateful that the cowards and thugs accused of the cold-blooded murder of Officer Juan Diaz are in custody. We appreciate the relentless effort our detectives and officers put into finding these killers. We urge District Attorney Jackie Lacey to prosecute these cop killers to the fullest extent of the law, including seeking the death penalty. We continue to pray for and support Officer Diaz’s family during this time of grief.”
Diaz, who had only been with the LAPD for two years, was at a taco stand with his girlfriend and her two brothers when he saw a group of men who appeared to be vandalizing a wall and asked them to stop.
Members of the group reportedly approached Diaz, one of them reportedly claimed his allegiance to a gang (believed to be the Avenues gang), then told Diaz’s group they were in his territory before lifting his shirt to display a handgun.
Diaz and his companions got in his pickup truck and drove off, but the men shot at the vehicle, killing Diaz and injuring his girlfriend’s brother. Diaz was pronounced dead at the scene.