June 13th, 2006, I was in charge of a fugitive hunting unit. I received a call from my lieutenant that a suspect wanted on nine counts of armed robbery was hiding in the southwest area of the valley. The suspect had been pulling robberies for several months and was so arrogant that on at least one occasion, he told the victim, “You probably know me, I’ve been on the news.”
Several members of my team, myself and the FBI, began saturating the area for several hours, and at one point it seemed fruitless. It was like looking for a needle in a haystack. Fortunately for us the suspect stood out from most people. He was described as 6’ 4” with a muscular build and a clean-shaved head.
At about 1:00AM I was driving through the parking lot of a local tavern when I got lucky. He and another male with a shaved head were standing next to an early 80’s primer grey van. At one point they noticed me in the parking lot. The vehicle I was driving was a far cry from a “detective” sedan, however, these two were obviously paranoid because they immediately loaded up and sped out of the parking lot. Of course, as luck would have it, we were having radio problems, so I was forced to relay suspect description and direction of travel to one of my detectives via a cell phone.
We lost track of them almost immediately, but one thing was in our favor; that van stood out. It looked about as unique as the truck featured in the old sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies. However, as we would learn later, looks can be very deceiving.
That particular evening we had our air unit specifically assigned to our event, and they earned their paycheck that night. One of our finest pilots, a veteran of more than 25 years, spotted the van. We formulated a plan and decided to initiate a felony car stop at an intersection. This is when it all happened to me.
I was armed with a Glock .40 on my right hip, two additional high-capacity magazines, a Smith & Wesson Model 36 5-shot revolver on my ankle, and between my center console and passenger sat my AR15 .223 with two 30-round magazines and one 20-rounder already locked in the well.
I instructed my guys to attempt to block them in at a quiet intersection, as I figured they would not cooperate. The driver, whose identity was not known at the time, attempted to ram the primary vehicle and the chase was on.
The suspects were driving erratically with no regard for human life, sometimes exceeding speeds of more than 100 mph with their headlights off. Nevertheless, our air unit kept a vigilant watch over them by keeping them illuminated with their spotlight.
About 30 miles into the chase I requested the primary patrol officer to attempt a Pit Maneuver Pursuit intervention technique. However, every time he got close enough, the passenger would point a .357 Magnum revolver out of the passenger side window at him.
About 60 miles into the pursuit, involving multiple agencies, approximately every five miles there would be a broken-down black and white, either out of gas, with a flat tire or from overheating.
At one point we had the neighboring county drop a tire-deflation strip on the road, but they were able to dodge it. About 100 miles into the pursuit, the suspect’s front right tire blew out and the van went airborne into the desert. Both men were able to exit and run; however, we apprehended both of them moments later. The driver was introduced to our newest addition to our arsenal, the TASER.
We later identified the driver as a multiple-time, convicted felon who would be released on bail, only to be accused of murdering a prominent local business man during a botched home invasion-style robbery. He would later be found guilty of felony evasion of police officers and sentenced to life without parole.
The primary suspect was tried and convicted, and received a lengthy prison sentence.
— DF, NV
June 13th, 2006, I was in charge of a fugitive hunting unit. I received a…
by Matt Berger / Jan 14, 2009