Merced County, CA – Dol Palos is a small town in central California, located just south of Merced. On Wednesday, two Merced County Sheriff’s deputies went to Dol Palos to serve a warrant in a domestic violence case involving a man named Guadalupe Lopez-Herrera. Lopez-Herrera has a history of domestic violence and had pleaded no contest to a charge in January. The Merced Sun-Star describes the case that led to a restraining order against Lopez-Herrera:
THE WOMAN TOLD THE COURT LOPEZ-HERRERA ON JAN. 1 THREATENED TO KILL HER WITH A KITCHEN KNIFE. IN THE REQUEST FOR A RESTRAINING ORDER, THE WOMAN SAID LOPEZ-HERRERA THEN THREATENED TO KILL HIMSELF.
“YOU CAN TELL THE CHILDREN THAT YOU PROVOKED ME TO KILL MYSELF AND IT WAS ALL YOUR FAULT,” HE IS QUOTED IN THE COURT RECORD.
THE WOMAN SAID LOPEZ-HERRERA THEN BEGAN SLAMMING HIS HEAD INTO A REFRIGERATOR. HE THEN APPROACHED ONE OF THE YOUNG CHILDREN, SHOWED HIS INJURIES AND SAID “LOOK WHAT YOUR MOTHER DID TO ME,” ACCORDING TO COURT RECORDS.
THE WOMAN DESCRIBED LOPEZ-HERRERA AS “VERY JEALOUS, CONTROLLING, VERY ANGRY EASILY.”
“HE HAS STRANGLED ME AND (THREATENED) TO KILL ME,” SHE TOLD THE COURT. THE WOMAN WENT ON TO SAY SHE WAS “VERY SCARED” HER CHILDREN MIGHT BE RAISED “WITHOUT A MOTHER.”
When Lopez-Herrera failed to show up for court in August, an arrest warrant was issued. When the two deputies approached his house, Lopez-Herrera opened fire and (allegedly) hit one of the deputies in the chest and the leg. Fortunately, he was wearing a vest and will recover from the wound to his leg. In the chaos, Lopez-Herrera escaped and remained on the run for nearly 24-hours.
Authorities searched the area but weren’t able to locate him until police spotted the truck he had stolen Thursday morning. That resulted in a high-speed chase and more shots fired at police:
IT SPED OFF, REACHING SPEEDS OF OVER 120 MPH AS OTHER DRIVERS PULLED OVER TO GIVE OFFICERS ROOM.
HERRERA LED OFFICERS FROM HIGHWAY 46 TO HIGHWAY 41, WHERE AN OFFICER USED A SPIKE STRIP TO STOP HIM.
EVEN SO, HE CONTINUED TO DRIVE, ENDING ALONG INTERSTATE 5 SOUTH OF HARRIS RANCH.
AT ONE POINT, OFFICERS SAY HERRERA EVEN FIRED SHOTS AT THEM THROUGH THE WINDSHIELD OF THE TRUCK.
At a press conference, Merced Sheriff Van Warnke expressed relief that Lopez-Herrera had been caught but also frustration that he had been unable to turn him over to ICE months ago despite Lopez-Herrera’s long history of violent crimes:
“THIS PERSON IS NOT A LEGAL CITIZEN WITHIN THE UNITED STATES. WE HAD HIM IN OUR CUSTODY IN JANUARY OF THIS YEAR. AND BECAUSE OF THE FOLKS IN SACRAMENTO LIMITING OUR ABILITY TO COOPERATE WITH ICE, WE COULD NOT TURN HIM OVER,” MERCED SHERIFF VAN WARNKE SAID AT A PRESS CONFERENCE ON THURSDAY…
“BOTTOM LINE IS OUR IMMIGRATION POLICIES NEED TO BE REVAMPED BECAUSE WE’RE GONNA CONTINUE TO HAVE MORE OF THIS SITUATION HAPPEN…WE KNEW AHEAD OF TIME THIS GUY’S POTENTIAL FOR VIOLENCE WAS THERE.”
In addition to domestic violence, Lopez-Herrera’s rap sheet includes felony assault and assault with a deadly weapon. Here’s a local news report which shows Sheriff Warnke’s statement as well as a bit of the chase that led to Lopez-Herrera’s capture.