Organized criminal activity spreads on Reservations...

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Organized criminal activity spreads on Reservations...

Post  Ty on Fri May 16, 2008 8:48 am

Man, woman shot by deputies on Soboba reservation abandoned car, hid

09:16 AM PDT on Thursday, May 15, 2008
The Press-Enterprise
The Soboba tribal members shot by SWAT officers in a remote area of the reservation Monday abandoned their vehicle along a dirt road and were hiding behind a tree before they were killed during an exchange of gunfire, Riverside County sheriff's Sgt. Dean Spivacke said Wednesday.

A man and woman were shot multiple times after one of them fired at deputies who had tracked the pair to an isolated section of the reservation in the foothills of the San Jacinto Mountains, authorities said.

Sheriff's deputies identified the man as Joseph Arres, 36. Family members identified the woman as Tamara Angela Hurtado. She was known to the Sheriff's Department as Angelica Lopez, 30, said sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Dennis Gutierrez.

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William Wilson Lewis III/The Press-Enterprise
Lorina Duro, left, and Virginia Duenaz, right, both with Lighthouse Ministry, pray Wednesday with Gary Hurtado, the father of Tamara Angela Hurtado, who was killed in a Monday shootout.
Spivacke said investigators were piecing together what happened in the shooting incident Monday. More details have come together through interviews with deputies and witnesses, and evidence collected on the reservation east of San Jacinto.

Parking-lot Memorial

On Wednesday evening, about 100 people gathered outside St. Joseph's Soboba Mission Church for a service to honor tribal members killed. Friends and families placed flowers and photographs at a memorial just off the church parking lot.

"God has good plans for the future of this reservation, and we should pray that what is bad right now will come to a stop," said Gabriel Ward, pastor of the Body of Christ Church at Torres Martinez. He was one of a handful of ministers who came to offer help and grief counseling. Several who spoke in the hourlong ceremony said that unity is the most important thing the tribe needed.

Gary Hurtado, father of the woman killed by gunfire Monday night, said that there was great sadness on the reservation. He saw his daughter Tamara just a few days before the shooting, Hurtado said.

"She was a nice person," Hurtado said. "She had a lot of love. She was a housewife and the mother of a 9-year-old son."

A wake for Eli Morillo is scheduled for Friday, followed by a memorial service Saturday, said the Rev. Earl Henley, pastor/chaplain of the Native American Ministry at the reservation. Morillo, 26, was shot to death in a gun battle with sheriff's deputies on the reservation May 8, authorities said.

Services for the other tribal members are pending, he added.

Warrant Issued

At the time of his death, Arres was wanted on an arrest warrant with bail set at $1 million, according to Riverside County Superior Court records. Arres pleaded guilty Feb. 20 to charges in two 2006 cases that he was a convicted felon or narcotics addict in possession of a firearm.

As part of the pleas, Arres faced a two-year prison term in each case to run concurrently, according to court records. But he failed to show up in court for a sentencing hearing April 29 and a judge issued a warrant for his arrest.

Hours after he was killed, fire gutted Arres' mobile home in San Jacinto. Cal Fire had not determined the cause of Tuesday's blaze as of Wednesday evening.

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William Wilson Lewis III/The Press-Enterprise
Lorina Duro, center, and Virginia Duenaz, right, pray during a memorial service for members of the Soboba tribe killed during a shootout Monday on the reservation.
More Details Released

Deputies were responding to 911 callers who reported about 6:20 p.m. that the tribe's security booth located near the Soboba Casino had been hit by gunfire. There were also reports -- later determined to be incorrect -- that a security guard had been shot.

Spivacke said deputies arrived at the guard station and watched as a Honda Accord approached from the south on Soboba Road. Someone got out of the vehicle and fired at deputies from about 200 feet away, Spivacke said. Four deputies returned fire and the gunman got back into the Accord, which sped away south on Soboba Road, Spivacke said. None of the deputies were injured.

The deputies stayed at their location as the Accord turned northeast on Castile Canyon Road. A sheriff's helicopter joined the chase, Spivacke said, and the vehicle stopped several times and fired at the chopper. The helicopter was not struck.

Spivacke said Arres telephoned relatives or friends and told them about what was happening. Spivacke did not know details of the conversations.

The Accord raced along a dirt road at the end of Castile Canyon Road and continued for about three miles. Spivacke said the pair abandoned the vehicle and stopped at a tree between 75 and 100 feet away.

About an hour after the initial exchange of gunfire, the department's SWAT team found the Accord. Using lights from the police vehicles to illuminate the area, deputies spotted the pair and ordered them to drop their weapons. One of them fired and five of the deputies shot back.

Spivacke said investigators do not know whether either one was injured during the initial exchange with deputies or why the pair abandoned the car. "There was a gap between the time of the initial shooting and the second exchange," Spivacke said. "They had a big head start."

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Tamara Angela Hurtado
Cal Fire Policy Change

Julie Hutchinson, spokeswoman for Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire Department, said department officials decided last week against sending emergency responders onto the reservation unless they are escorted or cleared by law enforcement first.

"We've re-enacted our standard procedure," she said. "That is, whenever we're responding to a potentially hostile environment, such as an assault or shooting, we don't go in without law enforcement clearing the scene for us first. For right now, it's still a very hostile environment on the reservation, and we're going to prevent putting our people at risk."

Hutchinson said department officials also are concerned about some "credible threats" made earlier this year against firefighters. She did not have specifics.

Hutchinson said there have been instances when law enforcement had to sequester firefighters for their safety when tempers flared on the reservation.

"We felt there was the potential for false calls that were going to put our public safety personnel at risk," she said.

The policy was in place earlier this year following a series of violent incidents on the reservation, but later rescinded.

Lines of Communication

A meeting has been scheduled between representatives of the Soboba tribe, Riverside County Sheriff's Department and Bureau of Indian Affairs as a way to ease tensions following the recent deaths of three tribal members at the hands of deputies.

The meeting, which may take place Friday, was requested by the federal agency and will include a representative from the office of Rep. Jerry Lewis, R-Redlands, said Jim Specht, communications director for the congressman in Washington, D.C.

"The hope is to open lines of communication," said Specht. "The congressman is very concerned about the tribe getting along with the community."

Wealth, Gangs, Crime

Southern California tribal leaders, including Soboba's Salgado, met Saturday to talk about gangs and drug problems on reservations, said Manuel Hamilton, vice chairman of the Ramona Band of Cahuilla Indians near Anza.

The leaders met at the San Manuel Indian reservation -- which has been plagued by gang-related crimes -- for what they hope will be the first of many such meetings focused on fighting the problems as a group, Hamilton said Tuesday.

He said drugs, poor parenting skills and wealth in idle hands have fueled crime on reservations.

"People have lost the ability to have any work ethic," he said. "We're imploding upon ourselves."

This highlights the issues which are prevalent on nearly every reservation with legalized gambling. You don't put hundreds of thousands of dollars into peoples hands without training them in finance. You can't give them access to this kind of money, allow them to attain political power and think everything is going to be alright. I remember years ago when the push to expand the gambling at San Manuel was first proposed and the residents in the area all complained that it would draw crime and vice. The tribe and their backers said it was jealousy or racism on the part of the residents but look at what has happened. Money laundering, murder for hire, drug and gun trafficking. Not to mention the political corruption that nobody will look into which compromises the integrity of city government.

On the other hand you have to believe there was more to this story than we know. What was SWAT doing on the reservation anyway? Unless they were invited onto look for these two by the tribal authorities, this is a breach in their rights as a sovereign nation. As for the tribe's being out of control, that's a simple fix


Number of posts : 284
Registration date : 2008-01-22
Location : Around, get at me.

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