After nearly a month on the run, Raul Garcia-Gomez, an illegal alien suspected in the shooting death of a Denver police officer and wounding of another, is in custody following his arrest last night in Mexico.
“The entire city is relieved,” Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper said. “This is the kind of event that takes on a symbolism beyond what any of us would have thought. This news is powerful to the city. Now it’s time to bring this man to justice.”
Ironically, Hickenlooper is reportedly the co-owner of the Cherry Cricket restaurant which employed Garcia-Gomez before the May 8 shooting which left detectives Donald Young dead and John Bishop injured.
Detective Donald Young and family
The shooting suspect, 18, had been sought in a massive manhunt stretching from Denver to Las Vegas to Los Angeles and Mexico, where he was finally captured in Culiacan, a Pacific Coast town in the state of Sinaloa near the resort city of Mazatlan.
Four others were also taken into custody in the U.S., including Jaime Arana del Angel of Denver, charged with accessory to first-degree murder.
District Attorney Mitch Morrissey is now looking at the next step in bringing Garcia-Gomez to justice, noting, “There are only three options: One is to try and get him here from Mexico, two is to prosecute him in Mexico, and three would be to wait and see if he’d come back to the United States. Then we could proceed with making the determination of what would file on him and what the appropriate sentence we would seek. That decision hasn’t been made.”
He added the death penalty was not an option because of Mexico’s extradition policy.
“Were going to negotiate what we can. I think its best to bring him back here and have him stand trial here. I’ve spoken with Donnie’s widow and she agrees with me at this point.”
Detective Young’s widow, Kelly, reacted to the arrest with a mix of excitement, relief and fear, after having seen only the photo of Garcia-Gomez since the shooting.
“It’s hard to hate a picture,” she told the Denver Post. “I mean, he just looks like the kid next door. I don’t know how I will react the first time I see him.”