MERCED COUNTY, Calif. – A suspect who was on the run after allegedly shooting a Merced County detective on Wednesday has been apprehended following a dangerous car chase, sources say.
Now authorities have confirmed that the 51-year-old fugitive has been living inside the United States illegally.
Guadalupe Lopez-Herrera was wanted for allegedly opening fire on a California detective on Wednesday afternoon as police were following up on a domestic violence report from the weekend. As the deputies arrived at the scene, Lopez-Herrera allegedly began shooting at them through a fence. One deputy was shot in his leg and again in his vest.
After he shot the detective he took off, managing to evade police custody for a day before police located him and chased him down later on Thursday. Police say that after he fled from the scene of the shooting, the suspect ditched his vehicle and carjacked a white pickup truck.
The Merced County Sheriff said that the pursuit lasted nearly an hour and that Lopez-Herrera fired a single round at California Highway Patrol officers before finally surrendering. The chase finally came to a close in Kettleman City.
The Fresno Bee reported that the chase covered stretches of Highways 46, 41 and Interstate 5 before a spike strip was deployed in Fresno County, disabling the white pickup driven by the suspect.
Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke said in a press briefing Thursday that Lopez-Herrera was in the country illegally and had allegedly threatened the lives of his wife’s family.
Sheriff Warnke also noted that the wounded deputy, who had been struck just above the knee was “recovering well” from his injuries.
Warnke said that Lopez-Herrera has a violent history.
“We started an investigation on this person as of Saturday,” Warnke said. “He’d been involved with several violent domestic violence cases and had been on the run, so to speak, for a length of time. We had tasked our (Sheriff’s Tactics And Reconnaissance) to locate and apprehend this person. He also had a warrant for his arrest.”
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But because of California’s laws barring local authorities from working with ICE, Lopez-Herrera was never turned over to immigration officials.
“We had him in our custody in January of this year, and because of the folks in Sacramento limiting our ability to cooperate with ICE, we could not turn him over,” Warnke said. “This kind of rings of what happened to Ronil Singh in Newman. Not only has this guy been a proven danger prior to this incident, the attempted murder of one of my sergeants, the attempted murder of a California Highway Patrol officer because of this when he should have been not in this country and placed back in the country of origin.”
According to court records, Lopez-Herrera has a lengthy history of domestic violence allegations.
He was sentenced to 45 days in jail and three years of probation after he pleaded no contest on January 23 to a domestic violence charge and to making criminal threats.
Court records show he also was ordered not to possess any firearms.
The victim in the case asked for a restraining order against Lopez-Herrera, begging a judge to prevent him from contacting her and her three young children.
According to the woman in court on Jan. 1, Lopez-Herrera threatened to kill her with a kitchen knife and then threatened to kill himself.
“You can tell the children that you provoked me to kill myself and it was all your fault,” he is quoted in the court record.
#BREAKING Captured! This is the suspect accused of shooting a Merced County detective yesterday. He was just arrested on I-5 near Kettleman City following a pursuit from Paso Robles. @ABC30 pic.twitter.com/nUc9UTrNAZ
— Sara Sandrik ABC30 (@SaraABC30) September 5, 2019
According to the woman, Lopez-Herrera then began slamming his head into a refrigerator… then approached one of the young children, showed his injuries and said “Look what your mother did to me”.
The woman described Lopez-Herrera as “very jealous, controlling, very angry easily.”
“He has strangled me and (threatened) to kill me,” she said in court.. then went on to say she was “very scared” her children might be raised “without a mother.”
On August 7, his probation was revoked after he failed to appear in court and a warrant was issued for his arrest.
According to Allen, the Merced Sheriff’s Office is a small agency where “everybody knows everybody.”
“I mean we spend a lot of time with each other so to find out something like this has happened to one of your brothers, you know it hits us all pretty hard,” Allen said.