Suspect’s family concerned with YPD actions

YUMA, Ariz. – The family of a suspected vandal is alleging that the Yuma Police Department was unnecessarily aggressive when they served a warrant at their home.

Eighteen-year-old, Juan Leal Ornelas, is accused of shattering dozens of windows with a BB gun. His grandfather, John Leal, says police were forceful when entering the home which has resulted in his 5-year-old granddaughter being traumatized.

“Five to six guys with the heavy guns pointed at me. I lift my hands. I told them there’s a baby right here. We already saw the baby she was just panicked she was holding me holding my legs. I started crying.” said John Leal.

John Leal, grandfather to Aliah, answered the door when police served a search warrant at his house last week. That’s when he said guns were pointed at him scaring his granddaughter. Police were there to arrest his grandson, Juan Leal Ornelas, who’s accused of vandalizing more than a dozen businesses with a BB gun in December 2015.

Now John Leal says his granddaughter Aliah wants to move to a different house and never wants to go inside her home.

“The only thing I’m asking is that my granddaughter was hurt, more than my son because she’s a baby,” said John Leal.

13 On Your Side talked with officials at the Yuma Police Department to get their side of the story.

“The guns were down when the door was open, they saw that it was the grandfather and a 5-year-old little girl, guns went right back down to the ground. They got them out of the residence,” Yuma Police Department Sgt. Lori Franklin said.

Franklin says they immediately took the little girl out of the situation.

“We had a female Border Patrol agent that went right over and started talking to her. We know that her favorite princess is Elsa. She was showing the female officer all the toys in her little treasure box. I talked to several officers who were on the search warrant saying that the little girl was laughing and giggling,” said Franklin.

John Leal says his main concern is his granddaughter who he says is struggling with what he calls trauma, “Who’s going to help my granddaughter?” asked John Leal.

Police say this is the first time they’ve ever heard a complaint about how they handled the search warrant.

“Nobody ever brought to our attention that the little girl may have been traumatized. Nobody’s called us, nobody’s talked to us about that. Nobody has brought that to our attention. When you called me that’s the first we learned about this. So I mean if we don’t know what’s going on there’s nothing we can do about it,” said Franklin.

As of now John Leal says he hasn’t filed a complaint because he doesn’t want any trouble with police. As for the case against grandson, Juan Leal Ornelas, it remains under investigation.

About The Author

Denelle Confair graduated with her Bachelors from Arizona State University Walter Cronkite School of Broadcast and Mass Communication. She got her first on air reporter job for the NBC affiliate in Montana. After her time there she reported for the NBC affiliate in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. In Texas she covered multiple stories on the Gulf Cartel and immigration. Now she says she's glad to be back in her home state of Arizona. In her free time she enjoys hiking and writing. For story ideas you can email her at denelle.confair@kswt.com or find her on Facebook.

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