Attempted Murder of a Peace Officer – Vista

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In the early morning hours of November 22, 2017, there were several calls from residents in the area of Cabrillo Lane and Anza Avenue in Vista indicating they heard gunshots in the area. Deputies searched the area, but were unable to locate anyone doing the shooting or evidence of a gun being fired. During the course of their investigation, information was developed indicating there may have been a red pickup truck involved in the shootings. Deputies from the Vista Station checked the area and eventually located a truck matching the description of the suspect vehicle and attempted a traffic stop. The vehicle sped off and deputies pursued the vehicle with their lights and sirens. Numerous shots from a shotgun and a semi-automatic rifle were fired at the deputies at various points during the several minute pursuit; however, no deputies returned fire. For their safety and the safety of the public, deputies decided it was best to back away from the pursuit and the driver sped away.

The suspect vehicle was eventually discovered unoccupied and parked at an apartment complex on Meadow Lake Drive in Vista. Based on information developed from several witnesses, and other supporting evidence, it was determined the occupants of the vehicle ran into an apartment inside the complex. Deputies surrounded the apartment and after several attempts to call them out using the public address system, five occupants were removed from the apartment. Out of those occupants, two were determined to be not involved in the incident and were subsequently released. The remaining three suspects were determined to have been inside the red pickup as it fled from deputies, including Ixcauatzin Morales (21 years old), Jesus Garcia Lopez (29 years old), and Elmer Escatel (24 years old). All three were booked into the Vista Detention Facility for attempted murder on a peace officer, assault with a deadly weapon, and conspiracy, amongst other charges.
The investigation is ongoing and citizens with property damage from gunshots along the pursuit route are urged to report it the Sheriff’s Department. Thus far, there were no reported injuries from this incident.

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