Most Viewed Stories
Charges filed against suspect in shooting of deputies
Although 13 felony offenses were filed against him on Tuesday, the Yuma man arrested in the shooting of three Yuma County deputies over the weekend will not face attempted murder charges.
Leo Trujillo, 26, was charged with eight counts of aggravated assault, two counts of endangerment and one count each of discharging a weapon at residential structure, trafficking in stolen property and assisting in a criminal street gang.
Asked if could afford to hire an attorney, he replied, “Nah, I was living off my unemployment.”
In separate but related cases, Luis Morales-Vega was charged with 21 offenses, while seven other charges were filed against George Smith. All three men were arraigned in Yuma Justice Court before Yuma Justice of the Peace Gregory Stewart.
Morales-Vega, 24, who was arrested in connection to several residential burglaries in which he allegedly stole property and several firearms, was charged with 14 counts of misconduct involving weapons, three counts of trafficking in stolen property and two counts each of theft and burglary.
Morales-Vega is also suspected of selling Trujillo a stolen gun used in the shooting.
Smith, who also allegedly purchased stolen weapons from Morales-Vega, was charged with five counts of misconduct involving weapons and one count each of assisting a criminal street gang and trafficking in stolen property.
In addition to scheduling their next court appearances, preliminary hearings for 4 p.m. Sept. 20, Stewart ordered that their bonds remain unchanged. Trujillo is being held on a $3 million bond, while Morales-Vega and Smith's bonds are $1 million each.
Trujillo allegedly fired five rounds from a 9mm pistol through his closed front door Saturday morning at eight members of the sheriff's office Special Response Team.
Wounded while serving a high-risk warrant at his apartment at 1850 S. Avenue B at about 8 a.m. were Sgt. Frank Pereda, Cpl. Samuel Pavalak and Deputy Andrew Orozco. All three sought treatment at Yuma Regional Medical Center and have since been treated and released.
Prosecutor James Coil, of the Yuma County Attorney's Office, who attended Tuesday's hearings, told the court that one of the rounds Trujillo had fired at the deputies went into a home across the street and struck a couch that the owner had been on moments before.
He also said that Trujillo, if convicted, was looking at substantial prison time because the sentence he would receive is what is known as “flat time,” meaning he would have to serve each day of the sentence.
Morales-Vega was arrested Friday at the Motel 6 on Arizona Avenue after Yuma police received an anonymous tip. He had been wanted by both the Yuma Police Department and Yuma County Sheriff's Office since Tuesday night in the theft of several firearms from several residential burglaries.
Once Morales-Vega was questioned, YCSO and YPD were able to determine to whom he had allegedly sold the stolen property and firearms.
Coil said Morales-Vega stole several guns during each of his burglaries and then sold some of them to members of two different street gangs.
James Gilbert can be reached at email@example.com