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Reward Now Up To $100,000 For Information Leading To Suspect's Arrest
6:17 AM, May 12, 2005
Detective John Bishop described the weekend shooting that killed his partner and left him injured in a sometimes emotional news conference Thursday afternoon at Denver Police Headquarters.Bishop was working off-duty with Detective Donnie Young when they were ambushed. In the first seconds, he said, he didn't believe they had been shot.
John Bishop is flanked by his wife as he talks about the shooting that took his partner's life.
"My first thought was, 'This isn't really happening, there's no way," and then I saw Donnie and I knew 100 percent that something was wrong," said Bishop.He said he was able to get on his police radio and call for help."I ask myself the question, 'Why him and not me?' I don't know if I'll ever know."Bishop said he's been on emotional roller coaster since the shooting."Nobody should go through what Donnie and I had to go through that night," said Bishop.Bishop was wearing a bullet-proof vest and received only minor injuries after being hit in the back.Meanwhile, police in Southern California and Mexico are on alert for any sign of a 19-year-old man suspected of killing a police officer after his car was found hidden behind a home in Los Angeles.
Denver police have named Raul Garcia-Gomez as a suspect in the ambush shooting of two police officers.
The car that Denver police believed Raul Garcia-Gomez was driving -- a white Dodge Neon -- was recovered behind a Los Angeles home Thursday at 1 a.m., Chief Gerry Whitman said.Whitman said the car was found after a search warrant was executed on the home. Because of the car's location and the timing of when the car arrived, detectives believe that Garcia-Gomez may still be on the West Coast. Whitman said that six Denver detectives and two deputy district attorneys are in Los Angeles, working closely with Los Angeles police and sheriff's departments."They have over 200 people working on this case on our behalf, along with our detectives who are on the ground there," Whitman said. There are six Denver detectives and two representatives from the Denver District Attorney's Office in Los Angeles.At a late-afternoon news conference, Los Angeles police announced the reward for information leading to the arrest of Garcia-Gomez was raised to $100,000 Thursday."We have considerable information. We're going to several addresses within Los Angeles city and county and they have multiple locations still in the United States. They've developed information that the suspect may have fled to Mexico but that hasn't been confirmed yet because we still have a lot of locations that we're checking within the Los Angeles area," he said."This is probably the most horrific assault on a police officer that I've ever experienced," said Dave Fisher, the Los Angeles police chief.He had a message for Garcia-Gomez who was believed to still be in the Los Angeles area."You can run but you can't hide. I encourage you to turn yourself in."Whitman doesn't rule out that Garcia-Gomez could be found in Colorado."I don't anticipate he's in the Denver metro area but then again if he's got some plans to bounce back here because he has friends and relatives he wants to hide with, we're still looking for him here at specific locations," he said."We shouldn't have to ask every person, 'Is this murderer in your house?' or, 'Have you seen this murderer?' I'm not speaking for the district attorney but I hope we charge everybody who is harboring this person from here to L.A. to Mexico. No matter where you're at, if you're storing this guy, keeping him away from us, I strongly suggest they be charged in whatever state they're in," Whitman said.Mexican authorities have also been contacted but if the suspect is found there it may be more difficult to extradite him, the district attorney said. Mexico does not extradite those who could be facing the death penalty or life in prison, so District Attorney Mitch Morrissey say there is a possibility that the case will have to be prosecuted there.Detectives say tips are still coming in and they will continue working around the clock until the suspect is found. The Denver Police Department has more than 100 detectives assigned to the case.On Wednesday, a 7NEWS photographer was with an Aurora officer when a call came that the suspect might have been spotted. Officer Nathan Meier raced to the scene with full lights and sirens blaring but it turned out to be a false alarm.Meier said the intensity of the response speaks to how much this case is on the mind of every police officer.
Suspect's Girlfriend Says She Wants Him To Return
While law enforcement and an entire community want Garcia-Gomez caught and brought to justice, his girlfriend and the mother of his child just wants him to return.
Sandra Rivas told 7NEWS that Garcia-Gomez did not tell her anything about the shooting but she is already on record with the Rocky Mountain News, saying he confessed to her about shooting the two off-duty officers. She had told the paper that he was angry when wasn't allowed back inside the party at Salon Ocampo Saturday night.She said Garcia-Gomez fled their home after confessing hours after the shooting.Rivas, holding her 3-week old daughter, said she has only one message for her boyfriend, "Just to come back."Rivas says she's worried about Garcia-Gomez."Cause he's my baby's father, I have to be," she said.The managing editor of the News said Rivas described the confession to a reporter in the presence of a photographer, so the paper stands by the story.Hours after the 1 a.m. Sunday shooting, Garcia-Gomez reported for work at the Cherry Cricket restaurant. He worked a full shift -- from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., said managers at the restaurant.That was the last time he was seen before posters with his face started going up in neighborhoods and flashing on TV screens.
Garcia-Gomez Used Fake ID To Get Job
Garcia-Gomez may have used fake identification papers to get his job at the Cherry Cricket, a restaurant co-owned by Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, 7NEWS reported. Garcia-Gomez showed the restaurant a Social Security card that been used by three different people in three different states.Some are questioning how it's possible to get a fake identification and get a job in the country, but Hickenlooper said that should not be the focus right now."I don't know about you, I don't carry my birth certificate with me. The question of whether a driver's license is real or forged or a Social Security card, these are complicated issues," Hickenlooper said.
A man etches the name of Detective Donnie Young in a memorial for fallen Denver officers.
When asked why Denver police officers never turned Garcia-Gomez in to immigration authorities when they stopped him three times for traffic citations, Hickenlooper said the issues are complicated."We're a municipal police department and we're doing what municipal police departments do. We're investigating a homicide right now so I would definitely direct your questions to the authorities who enforce the immigration law," he said. "If this is the way we as a nation want to address immigration, we're certainly open to discussing that. But the manpower, the resources needed, would be significant. And we all have to recognize what's involved here.""Hogwash. He's the mayor of Denver. He is sworn to uphold the law. His job is not to think about the nuances of enforcing the law. His job is to enforce the laws we have on the books," said Rep. Tom Tancredo, who has been extremely critical of the country's immigration policies.As for immigration officials, they say their priority is to deal with immigrants who have been ordered out of the country by the courts and those who work in areas critical to public safety such as airports, power plants, and the like. Dishwashers who have not committed a crime are not a priority, they say.
Police released this photo of Detective "Donnie" Young with his wife Kelly and their two daughters.
If you know anything about Garcia-Gomez's whereabouts, you are asked to call CrimeStoppers. Garcia-Gomez is described as a Hispanic male, 5 foot 6 inches tall, 150 pounds, with shaved dark brown hair, brown eyes, a thin mustache, and tattoos on his left hand.The $100,000 reward is for information about the case and about the suspect's whereabouts. Tipsters can remain anonymous. Anyone with knowledge of the case is being urged to call (720) 913-STOP or (720) 913-7867.
Funeral Procession Expected To Be Large
Detectives Donnie Young and John Bishop were working off-duty, providing security at a dance hall when a man came in and shot them from behind. Young was shot three times, once in the head, and died a few hours later. Bishop was saved by his bulletproof vest and released from the hospital.Funeral services for Young will be held at 10:30 a.m. at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. Because he was a former Marine, Young will be buried with full military honors at Ft. Logan National Cemetery. The public is invited.If you are coming downtown on Friday and use Colfax, you should know that there will be traffic tie-ups, police warned. Drivers are urged to use 13th or 14th Avenue instead.From 9:15 a.m. to 2 p.m., Colfax Avenue will be shut down from Broadway to Pearl. Lincoln will be open but there will be no turns onto eastbound Colfax Avenue.The procession to Fort Logan will start between 12:15 p.m. and 12:30 p.m. It will move on to westbound Colfax to southbound Kalamath, westbound 6th Avenue to southbound Sheridan and then it will turn on Sheridan to the main entrance to Fort Logan.For a brief time, traffic will be affected on Interstate 25 to westbound 6th Avenue -- the area will be shut down, said Denver police spokeswoman Virginia Lopez.She said she's expecting all streets to reopen by 2 p.m.
Jack Bishop Expected To Talk
At 2 p.m., Bishop is expected to speak in public for the first time. TheDenverChannel.com will be carrying that news conference live.Police said Bishop has sent a framed poem to Young's family, to express how he felt. The poem that will be read during Young's funeral reads: We little knew that morning that God was going to call your name. In life we loved you dearly, in death we do the same. It broke our hearts to lose you, you did not go alone; For part of us went with you, the day God called you home. You left us peaceful memories, your love is still our guide; And though we cannot see you, you are always at our side. Our family chain is broken and nothing seems the same, But as God calls us one by one, the chain will link again.