A police cruiser. Photo by John Schreiber.
A police cruiser. Photo by John Schreiber.

A man fighting for his life in the wake of a struggle with Anaheim police has a lengthy criminal history that includes drug possession, resisting arrest, identity theft and burglary, as well as multiple violations of his probation terms, according to court records obtained Tuesday.

Fermin Vincent Valenzuela Jr., 32, of Anaheim succumbed to some sort of “medical distress” amid a struggle with officers on Saturday, according to Anaheim police Sgt. Daron Wyatt.

Valenzuela remained in a medically induced coma, and was listed in critical condition at an area hospital, as of this afternoon, Wyatt said.

Valenzuela allegedly followed a woman to her home in the 2600 block of Broadway about 9:15 a.m. Saturday. She told her family when she got into her residence, and a relative called police, Wyatt said.

Valenzuela was pacing in front of the home for a spell, according to Wyatt, and it wasn’t clear exactly where police got into a struggle with the suspect.

He allegedly started a “physical confrontation” with the officers, and as they tried to subdue him with a Taser, he collapsed, Wyatt said. The officers, who were wearing cameras on their uniforms, immediately attempted to revive him and called for paramedics, the sergeant said.

Valenzuela pleaded guilty to being under the influence of drugs in November 2009 and was placed on three years probation. He pleaded guilty to battery in February 2011 and was again placed on three years probation.

He pleaded guilty in March 2011 to falsely representing himself to an officer and was sentenced to a month in jail.

The first three cases involved misdemeanor charges. His next case involved felony charges, which were later reduced to misdemeanors. He pleaded guilty in March 2012 to possession of methadone and burglary and was put on three years probation.

When Valenzuela twice failed to report to probation officers in March 2014, an arrest warrant was issued. He also refused to report to residential drug rehabilitation, where he was sent “due to his continued drug use and the fact he was homeless,” according to court records.

He twice more violated the terms of probation in August and October 2013.

Last Sept. 16, he pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance, identity theft, burglary and forgery and was placed on probation for three years.

On Oct. 23, he pleaded guilty to malicious mischief to a vehicle, possession of burglary tools, theft of lost property and possession of controlled substance paraphernalia and was again placed on three years probation for the misdemeanors.

On March 16, he pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance without a prescription and driving under the influence of a drug and was handed a 180-day jail sentence and three years probation.

He also pleaded guilty in March to possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and falsely representing himself to an officer and was sentenced to a month in jail.

When Valenzuela’s family complained to reporters that they weren’t allowed to visit him at the hospital, police Chief Raul Quezada made an exception to the usual standard operating procedure to keep visitors away from a suspect involved in an officer-involved incident, Wyatt said. That is done for security reasons when police do not feel they can adequately protect a hospitalized suspect, the sergeant said.

“The chief had compassion for the family and made an exception with certain conditions,” Wyatt said. “On Sunday afternoon he came out and said, ‘Hey, look, what’s the harm in letting the family see their son?”‘

When his condition permits, Valenzuela is to be booked on suspicion of possessing drug paraphernalia, resisting arrest and resisting arrest with force, Wyatt said.

–City News Service

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