$100,000 reward considered in response to San Jacinto Gang Task Force office attack

RIVERSIDE – A $100,000 reward for information leading to the capture of whoever tried to kill anti-gang officers at their headquarters in Hemet is expected to be considered Tuesday by the Riverside County Board of Supervisors.

“Police officers put their lives on the line every day for residents of our county,” said Supervisor Jeff Stone, who is proposing the reward and in whose district the attacks occurred.

“We will exact the highest punishment allowed against anyone who plots to harm or kill the officers who work so hard to protect our community,” he said. “It will not be tolerated.”

Around 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, a member of the San Jacinto Gang Task Force, composed of sheriff’s deputies and other law enforcement officials, was opening a gate at the task force’s office in the 500 block of St. John Place in Hemet

when he was nearly struck by a bullet.

According to Hemet police, the projectile was part of a booby trap triggered when the gate moved.

The rig was not “an immediately recognizable firearm, but an improvised, homemade device capable of firing an actual bullet,” said Hemet police Lt. Duane Wisehart.

The slug was found in a parking lot about 100 yards away, he said.

On Dec. 31, at the same location, authorities discovered that a natural gas line on the roof of the headquarters building had been redirected into the facility, filling it with gas, which could have caused an explosion.

Hemet police investigators are seeking witnesses. Anyone with more information was asked to call (951) 765-2400.

The board is expected to discuss the reward as part of its policy agenda. Verne Lauritzen, Stone’s chief of staff, said the money would come from the county’s general fund and require a four-fifths vote for approval.

As a result of the attacks, the anti-gang squad is reportedly moving from its Hemet headquarters to an undisclosed location.


HEMET – For the second time in as many months, the office of the San Jacinto Gang Task Force in Hemet was targeted — this time by someone who booby-trapped a rolling gate to fire a shot at whoever opened it, police said today.

When an officer opened the gate at the facility in the 500 block of St. John Place about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, a bullet whizzed by him, Hemet police Lt. Duane Wisehart said.

The booby trap was rigged to fire a bullet in the general direction of whoever was opening the gate, Wisehart said. The slug was found in a parking lot about 100 yards away, he said.

The rig was not ”immediately recognizable firearm, but an improvised, homemade device capable of firing an actual bullet,” Wisehart said.

On Dec. 31, police discovered that someone had removed a natural gas line on the roof and redirected it into the building, filling it with natural gas, which could have caused an explosion.

The gang task force includes officers from the county sheriff’s department, the district attorney’s office and county probation.

Anyone with more information was asked to call police at (951) 765-2400.

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