The Justice Corner: If you see something, say something


Column by Capt. Allen Rowe, King City Police Department

On the evening of Aug. 5, 2016, at approximately 6:30 p.m., County Communications dispatched King City officers to the area of Rio Vista Drive after a resident reported hearing three gunshots, saw a tan Chevrolet truck with two flat tires, drive into the neighborhood and park. Two males got out of the truck and walked away carrying a container of beer. As they did so, the resident took pictures of the truck and its occupants.

As officers began responding to the area, Mee Memorial reported a young female with a gunshot wound to the head had just been dropped at the emergency room by a male subject. Due to the emergency nature of this call, officers diverted to the hospital.

Upon arrival, the male told officers he and his girlfriend had been shot at by two occupants of a tan brown truck as they got onto the northbound Highway 101 onramp from Canal Street.

One officer began searching the area for the suspect vehicle. The officer noticed a tan Chevrolet truck pulling into King City Center. As he pulled alongside the truck he recognized one of the three occupants of the truck as a known validated gang member he had previously arrested. The truck stopped in front of a business and all three occupants got out and went in separate directions, which was suspicious.

The officer pulled in behind the truck and radioed for backup. Additional officers arrived and the three subjects were detained.

The male whose girlfriend had been shot, was brought to the arrest location and identified one of the three subjects as the suspect who shot his girlfriend. He was then taken to the Rio Vista area where he identified the abandoned tan Chevrolet truck as the one the suspects were in when the shooting occurred. While there, an officer reviewed photographs the resident had taken, and was able to identify the subjects getting out of the truck to be the same subjects taken into custody.

Investigators obtained surveillance video from various locations, which showed the Chevrolet truck, just prior to being abandoned in the Rio Vista area, chasing the victim’s vehicle on Canal Street as it turned onto the freeway onramp.

Because of the residents’ actions, the two shooting suspects were taken in custody within 18 minutes of the original call to police. They were identified as Victor Reyes and Placido Casas, both from King City, and both are validated criminal street gang members. On June 21, 2017, both pled guilty to various charges stemming from this incident and will be sentenced this month to prison terms ranging from 15 to 23 years.

The “hero” in this case was not the officers who arrested the suspects — it was the citizen who got involved, who cared about their community, who called the police, and gave us the information to find and arrest the suspects.

On March 21, 2017, a shooting occurred at the Silver Saddle Motel on Broadway Street. Another “citizen hero” who witnessed the shooting, began following the suspect vehicle as it fled the scene, and notified law enforcement. They continued to follow the vehicle until our officers arrived, stopped the vehicle, and took two suspects into custody. Knowing the route the suspects took from the scene, investigators were then able to obtain surveillance video from a number of locations along the route.

The homeowners who provided the video footage from their home surveillance systems are also “citizen heroes” because they opened their homes and allowed us to gather important evidence in this case.

These are two examples of citizens becoming heroes for this community. It’s easy to say one is afraid to report anything because of retaliation. It’s much harder to put that fear aside for the good of your community, pick up the phone, and report suspicious or criminal activity. You are our “eyes and ears” on the street. At any given time as a community, you are collectively everywhere — we are not. You are at home, school, work, shopping, picking up your kids, running errands or going to church. We need your help in our efforts to make your neighborhoods safer for you and your family. This is the concept behind Neighborhood Watch — you watching out for your neighbors and them for you.

Regardless of whether you like police officers or not, we are in this struggle together. We will work hard to do our part; we need you to do yours. To the heroes involved in this story — I salute you.