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Home | Tag Archives: el paso police

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TxDoT, El Paso Police, El Paso Electric, Socorro ISD Launch Pedestrian Safety Campaign

The Texas Department of Transportation El Paso District is partnering with the El Paso Police Department, the El Paso Electric Company, and the Socorro Independent School District for a pedestrian safety campaign launching ahead of Halloween and the end of daylight saving time.

The campaign, which was initiated last year, consists of bilingual educational material and the distribution of thousands of reflective slap bands.

“We have had 21 pedestrian traffic related deaths in the City of El Paso this year, compared to 21 at this time last year,” said El Paso Police Assistant Chief Victor Zarur. “We believe education and awareness can reduce or eliminate future fatalities. While the driver has been at fault in a few cases, the majority of our pedestrian deaths this year are a result of pedestrians not crossing at appropriate locations.”

About half of those deaths have occurred on high speed roadways like I-10 and US 54, prompting additional concern.

“One death on our roadways is one too many,” said TxDOT El Paso District Engineer Tomas Treviño. “High speed roadways like I-10, US 54, and Loop 375 aren’t places for walking or crossing. Things can change in an instant while we are driving. Everyone always needs to be alert and pay attention, eliminate distractions like cell phones and listening devices and take extra precautions at night.”

Pedestrians are encouraged to always use a crosswalk and use sidewalks if available. It is illegal to walk in the road if a sidewalk is nearby.

If there isn’t a sidewalk, pedestrians should walk on the left side of the road facing traffic, as far away from traffic as possible.

“Safety comes first’ is a common phrase and a daily practice at El Paso Electric,” said El Paso Electric Interim Chief Executive Officer Adrian Rodriguez. “As our core value, it is our priority to ensure the safety of our employees and those we serve, and we are proud to partner with TxDOT, EPPD, and SISD in sharing this important message.”

In addition, drivers involved in a crash or who experience their vehicle stalling should remember to move their ride to the side if possible, turn on their hazard lights, and call for help.

If drivers are stalled on a main lane, they should turn on their hazard lights, stay buckled in their vehicle and call 9-1-1.

With the sun setting earlier and Halloween around the corner, everyone is especially reminded of child pedestrian safety.

“Our number one priority is to provide safe and supportive learning environments, which includes before and after school when our students and families are on the roads and sidewalks,” said SISD Superintendent José Espinoza, Ed.D. “I encourage everyone to be highly vigilant around our schools and at peak traffic times to ensure our pedestrians are safe. Team SISD is proud to be working with TXDOT, EPPD and EP Electric to Keep SISD Safe.”

City, County, Law Enforcement and EP Water partner to battle illegal dumping

At a news conference recently held at the El Paso Zoo, several local agencies, law enforcement and community members teamed up to redouble their efforts to battle illegal dumping in El Paso County.

Assistant County Attorney Cristina Viesca-Santos said her office takes environmental crimes seriously.

In 2018, they prosecuted six cases and they are on pace to double that this year with five prosecuted so far. But the County Attorney’s Office, El Paso Police, El Paso Water, El Paso Environmental Services and El Paso County Water Improvement District #1 know there are far more occurrences than prosecution numbers may indicate.

“If you see illegal dumping, pull out your phone and record the incident,” Viesca-Santos said. “Get video and take photos of the vehicle’s license plate number, of the person disposing the waste and the type of waste being dumped. And please report it.”

This type of information is needed to prosecute an illegal dumping case, especially since it’s difficult for law enforcement to catch people in the act.

Law enforcement and County Attorneys need the identity of the offender, which is the reason the video and photos play an integral part.

“Every time we have a storm in El Paso, we have a blocked storm drain from something that was dumped illegally,” said EPWater Vice President Alan Shubert. “We’ve found car bumpers, stoves, furniture, beds, and even entire automobiles. Flooding puts the community at risk.”

The agencies are collaborating on an illegal dumping outreach campaign that encourages citizens to be watchful, take a stand and report illegal dumping. Campaign messages are being shared on billboards, bus benches and shelters, radio, the internet and social media.

Kurt Fenstermacher, Director of El Paso Environmental Services, says the public can call 3-1-1 to request cleanups of illegally-dumped waste.

“Our crews spend countless hours removing thousands of pounds of trash,” he said. “Tell your friends and family members this is NOT how we treat our community. Spread the word to call 3-1-1.”

3-1-1 operators can provide the addresses and hours of operation for the five Citizen Collection Centers where the community can properly dispose of household waste.

For more information, please visit

Suspect In South El Paso Officer Involved Shooting In Custody

The man suspected of shooting an El Paso Police Officer in South El Paso was taken into custody just after 8 p.m. Tuesday night, according to El Paso Police Spokesman Sgt. Robert Gomez.

The shooting happened around 12:10 p.m. Tuesday afternoon near the intersection of North Seville Driveand Sambrano Avenue, about a mile east of Fox Plaza.  The yet-unnamed suspect was taken into custody at a home along the 100 block of North Clark, shortly after 8 p.m.

According to initial information, the officers were investigating reports of a suspicious person in the neighborhood when the man, only identified as a Hispanic male, fired at least one shot toward the officer as he was inside his vehicle. The officer was shot in his hand and transported to University Medical Center where he was treated and released hours later.

EPPD says officers returned fire during the initial incident and the suspect fled from the scene and into the neighborhood.

The search for the suspect forced a massive manhunt and closure of Alameda Avenue and a lockout of Cooley Elementary on Clark and Alameda. Just after 3 p.m., EPISD officials were able to arrange for buses to transport the students from Cooley Elementary to nearby Henderson Middle School.

According to police, approximately eight hours after the beginning of the manhunt, they were forced to use gas to enter a residence and take the suspect into custody. No officers were hurt during the suspect’s apprehension.

El Paso Police are working the the Texas Rangers, and are also conducting two internal investigation into the officer involved shooting. The identity of the suspect is expected to be released Wednesday.

Officers expect to be investigating the incident through the night, but said they expect Cooley Elementary to return to normal schedule on Wednesday. They are asking residents who live within the immediate perimeter to seek alternate housing arrangements for the evening if possible.

UPDATE: EPPD gives briefing on officer involved shooting in the Lower Valley. Suspect caught! Full Details –

Posted by El Paso Herald-Post on Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Testimony Begins in Third Trial Against Daniel Villegas

Opening statements in the third trial against Daniel Villegas began in a packed 409th District Court Tuesday morning.

Villegas is accused of killing Armando Lazo and Robert England during a drive-by shooting in Northeast El Paso on April 10, 1993.

Eight women and five men were seated as the jury on Monday by Judge Sam Medrano. Early disputes between the prosecution and defense included whether or not John Mimbela could be called to the stand as a witness for the prosecution.

Mimbela was instrumental in the release of Villegas, after arguing that Villegas’ taped jailhouse confession at the age of 16 was coerced by EPPD officer Al Marquez.

Prosecutor Denise Butterworth argued to Judge Medrano that Mimbela should be removed from the courtroom as a pending witness. The judge ultimately ruled to swear Mimbela in as a potential witness, but did not order him to leave the courtroom during proceedings.

The trial is being framed as if it is the first-time Villegas has been on trial, and the jury was not told of the history or prior conviction in the case. Medrano has taken careful steps to ensure that prior testimony is not entered into evidence, potentially swaying the jury.

The prosecution is hoping that several witnesses who say Villegas admitted he was the triggerman back in 1993 will be enough to have him convicted of murder for a second time.

Spencer attempted to create reasonable doubt in the case from the onset of his opening arguments. Spencer argued that two brothers who ran in a gang along Fairbanks Ave. were responsible for the murders. According to Spencer’s opening statement, Rudy Flores admitted to being at a house party on Jamaica St. near the location where Lazo, England and two friends, Jessie Hernandez and Juan Medina were hanging out.

Witnesses at the time claim that Flores had previously threatened to kill Lazo. Rudy Flores was also at the scene of a second shooting less than 24-hours after the shooting about a block from his home.

Much of Tuesday morning’s testimony was from police officers and crime scene detectives who responded to the scene in 1993. The jury was shown diagrams and photographs from the scene on Electric and Oakwood (now Girl Scout Way and Oakwood).

The images depicted shell casings recovered at the scene and graphic photographs of England, who had been shot in the head and was lying dead in an adjacent field.

During a particularly interesting part of the morning’s testimony, prosecutor Denise Butterworth assumed the position of two now-deceased eye witnesses in the case. She sat in the witness box as co-counsel read questions and she recited Nancy and George Gorham’s responses from previous statements collected in the 1990s verbatim.

The Gorhams were the homeowners who first called 9-1-1 at 12:18 a.m. on April 10 after hearing gunshots outside their bedroom window.

Upon opening the door, they found Armando Lazo, bleeding from his abdomen, collapsed on their doorstep. Nancy Gorham was a teacher at Andress High School at the time of the shooting and recognized Lazo as a boy who attended the high school.

The couple were unaware that a second victim was dead in a field across the street from their home.

Villegas’ first trial ended in a hung jury and his second trial resulted in a life sentence. Villegas served 19-years in prison after the 1995 murder conviction, but he was released pending a new trial in 2014.

The District Attorney’s Office offered Villegas a plea deal just before the trial for a guilty plea in exchanged for time-served. Villegas declined the plea.

The trial will resume Wednesday morning.

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