A man suspected of killing a Pomona police officer and wounding another officer was taken into custody Saturday after a standoff that lasted more than 15 hours in an apartment in Pomona.
Authorities know very little about the suspect, but Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell said the investigation can begin in earnest now that the suspect has been arrested.
The officer killed in the shooting was identified as Gregory Casillas, 30, of Upland. Officials said he had been with the department since 2014, though he was only sworn in as a Pomona police officer in September 2017, and was just about to finish field training.
He leaves behind a wife and two young children.
“Greg is a hero. A man to look up to. He left his family at home to protect yours, and his ultimate sacrifice will never be forgotten,” Pomona Police Chief Michael Olivieri said. “Our Pomona police officers were out doing what they always do, putting themselves in harm’s way to protect Pomona, a community that we love.”
The wounded officer underwent surgery and was in stable condition, expected to survive. Officials didn’t identify that officer, but McDonnell said he was shot in the face when he attempted to aid Casillas.
The shooting was reported at 9:10 p.m. Friday in the 1400 block of South Palomares Street, said Deputy Trina Schrader of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, which is assisting Pomona police in the investigation.
The confrontation began when Pomona police officers attempted to stop the suspect for alleged reckless driving. A pursuit ensued, which ended when the suspect’s vehicle crashed into a parked car and he fled on foot, according to Capt. Chris Bergner of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
“The suspect ran into an apartment complex where officers gave chase,” Bergner said. “As he barricaded himself in a bedroom, officers attempted to contact him and he began firing through the door, striking two officers.”
“It is with a heavy heart that I must report that one officer did not survive,” Olivieri announced early Saturday morning on Twitter.
At 1:10 p.m., Olivieri tweeted: “I am at the Command Post, as soon as this barricade situation comes to an end, I will talk briefly to the media about our fallen officer. I am not going to talk about my officer while the suspect may be watching tv.”
A couple hours later, McDonnell announced the arrest. The apartment building had been evacuated as a SWAT team maintained a watch all night and all morning long.
Earlier Saturday, police brought Casillas’ body to the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office in a solemn procession of squad cars as many officers lined the streets. Tributes, thoughts and prayers for Casillas and his family and the wounded officer poured in all day on social media, including one from Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck.
“Another hero gone too soon,” Beck tweeted. “These tragedies are occurring too often, and the pains of sacrifice will never be forgotten. Our thoughts and prayers are with the @PomonaPD today.”
—City News Service