HEMET: Traffic stop leads to foot pursuit, arrest

HEMET – A man was apprehended after running from officers during a traffic stop Tuesday, April 11. After pursuing officers put out a priority call for assistance, countless officers, deputies and agents from multiple agencies, including members of Riverside County’s Region 3 Gang Task Force converged on the location.

The foot pursuit – that began at the Hemet Motel in the 400 block of N. San Jacinto Avenue – was the second time a suspect fled from Hemet officials in less than two hours.

The other foot pursuit and dramatic take-down happened barely 90 minutes earlier, in the area of Florida Avenue and Juanita Street. (Click here to view other story.)

The second foot pursuit happened about 4:30 p.m., when a law enforcement officer conducted a traffic enforcement stop on a dark grey SUV. The driver of the vehicle yielded to the officer’s lights and pulled into the Hemet Motel. Before the vehicle even came to a stop, one of the passengers jumped out of the still moving SUV and fled on foot through the motel property.

Officers immediately gave chase while they put out the radio request for priority assistance.

Within moments, marked black and white patrol vehicles, unmarked patrol vehicles and undercover vehicles flooded into the area.

While the officers were in pursuit of the suspect, other responding officers began establishing a perimeter to ensure the fleeing suspect would not get away.

After the man ran to the rear of the motel property he broke his way through a wood fence, gaining access to a nearby alleyway, with officers still hot on his heals.

As more officers continued to converge on the area, the fleeing man was quickly apprehended in the area of E. Oakland and N. Weston Place, less than a block from where he fled. He was reportedly taken into custody without further incident.

It was not immediately known which local agency made the traffic stop that led to the foot pursuit; however, Region 3 Gang Task Force members were extremely active in the area throughout the day; as they swept through the city, gathering up individuals who were wanted or who were in violation of their release terms.

Riverside County’s Region 3 Gang Task Force is comprised of officials from Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, Hemet Police Department, Riverside County District Attorney’s Office, United States Border Patrol, California Highway Patrol and Riverside County Probation Department.

It was not immediately known what the man was arrested for or what he was to be charged with after his apprehension.

Jose Rodriguez – who was walking down the alley when the suspect kicked his way through the fence – later said, “I was just walking home from getting a drink at (Carl’s Jr.) when the guy kicked his way through the fence. I was startled at first but I just thought it was kids (messing) around and being destructive.”

“Before I could say or do anything, I saw that guy squeeze through the hole in the fence and run off,” Rodriguez continued. “Seconds later there were sirens and cops coming from everywhere.”

When officers flooded into the area, Rodriguez said, “I was so scared I accidentally dropped my soda and just sat down right where I was. I put my hands up high in the air, but (all the officers’) attention were on catching the guy who was running from them. They all just ran right past me.”

Although Rodriguez said he was shaken by the incident, he said he was happy to see local law enforcement agencies being so pro-active and making so many arrests in the area.

“It definitely seems like I have been seeing a lot more (police) activity lately and way more arrests,” Rodriguez said. “I just don’t understand why it seems like (the criminals) are right back out on the streets, sometimes within hours of their arrests. I don’t understand our ‘revolving door’ justice system.”

“It just seems like no matter how hard they try or how far they put their lives out on the line for us, the (police) just can’t win,” Rodriguez lamented.

“I pray for (officers) safety daily,” Rodriguez said. “I just hope it is enough.”

This is a developing story. Additional information will be updated as it becomes available.

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