Suspect wanted for attempted murder of a police officer
YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KSWT, KECY) - A task force led by the U.S. Marshals Service took a potentially dangerous fugitive into custody Tuesday in Yuma.
Marshals say Joel Torres and three other suspects used assault-style rifles to hold up a bank in Salinas, California in February. They says the men used those rifles to open fire on a police car during the chase that followed the robbery. The officer driving wasn't hurt, but the police cruiser was seriously damaged by the spray of bullets. Ultimately, the accused robbers got away.
Investigators tracked Torres to Yuma, then assembled a law enforcement team to help take him into custody. On Tuesday, the Arizona WANTED task force converged on a home near 12th Street and Avenue to take him into custody.
Marshals say Torres tried to escape by scaling several fences and leaping into neighboring homes' backyards, but was ultimately taken into custody. He's been booked into the Yuma County Jail on charges of attempting to murder a police officer.
Torres has a long criminal history that includes charges of burglary, robbery, and drug charges. Marshals say he's an active member of the Norteno gang in California.
“A dangerous fugitive who has shown his disregard for public safety and intent to harm those sworn to protect the community is in custody. This arrest is the direct result of the coordination between federal and local law enforcement agencies,” says District of Arizona U.S. Marshal David Gonzeles.
The Arizona WANTED Violent Offender Task Force is led by the U.S. Marshals Service. It's a multi-jurisdictional fugitive unit responsible for more than 17-hundred arrests in the past year. Today's arrest involved agents from the U.S. Border Patrol and Homeland Security Investigations, as well as Yuma Police.