A wanted parolee with past gang affiliations was shot and killed by a police task force Friday in Salinas after firing a shot and pointing two guns at an officer, a police spokesman said today. Juan Louis Acuna, 30, of Salinas, was shot multiple times after he raised the guns as members of a 10-officer task force tried to take him in, Salinas police Cmdr. Vincent Maiorana said. Acuna had been wanted for failing to meet with his state parole officer and based on his background as a convict with gang enhancements was considered an absconded parolee at large and dangerous, Maiorana said.
On Friday at about 6 p.m., members of the Monterey County Joint Gang Task Force observed Acuna in the area of Kern and East Market streets and attempted to stop him, Maiorana said. Acuna started to flee down a sidewalk and officers, who noticed he was carrying a handgun, again asked him to halt, Maiorana said. As he ran from officers to a parking lot near the intersection of Ivy Street and East Market, officers then saw that Acuna was holding two semi-automatic handguns in his hands, Maiorana said.
The suspect then fired a round at one of the officers who was pursuing Acuna from inside a patrol car, Maiorana said. The shot missed the officer, who then drove his car at Acuna and knocked the suspect down to try and subdue him, Maiorana said. But Acuna then stood up and turned both guns toward the officer, Maiorana said. The other nine officers, whose firearms were pointed at Acuna, feared he would shoot again and so opened fire all at once at the suspect, Maiorana said. “The shooting was quick and took place in seconds,” Maiorana said. “Every one of the officers perceived the threat.” Acuna was hit multiple times and died at the scene, Maiorana said.
The gang task force that day included eight members of the Salinas Police Department, one officer from the California Highway Patrol and a sheriff’s deputy from the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office, Maiorana said. Those who fired at Acuna included seven Salinas police officers, the CHP officer and the sheriff’s deputy, Maiorana said. Salinas police have placed its officers who fired shots on administrative leave during an investigation by police into the incident, Maiorana said. The sheriff’s office is also conducting a separate probe into the officer-involved shooting, Maiorana said. No officers or members of the public were injured during the shooting, Maiorana said.
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