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Anaheim PD building shut down for weekend amid protest concerns

July 27, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Anaheim Police Department building was barricaded off Friday night and shut down for the weekend amid concerns of more protests over a string of officer-involved shootings.

The latest shooting happened Friday when Anaheim police opened fire at a burglary suspect after he reportedly charged at officers with his car.

The incident happened in a new development called Colony Park at about 3:15 a.m. Police received reports of two suspects breaking into a model residence at the condominium complex to steal appliances near Olive and Water streets.

Responding officers spotted a washer and dryer outside of the home, and saw one suspect who took off running. He tried to hide from police but was eventually found by a police dog near some train tracks and was arrested. The man, identified as 36-year-old Abel Armenta, had been bitten by the dog and was taken to an area hospital for treatment before being booked on suspicion of burglary and resisting arrest. Sgt. Bob Dunn with Anaheim police said the suspect was on parole for burglary.

Officers saw the second suspect in a pickup truck. Authorities say the suspect accelerated toward the officers, and that's when one officer fired shots at the vehicle. However, that suspect was not injured and drove away. He remains on the loose.

Some residents in the Colony Park community say they heard the gunfire.

"It sounded like about three gunshots, and all of a sudden, you can hear the car just speed out, and after a few seconds, you can hear the policeman going after him," described area resident Gerber Garcia.

In response to the shooting, a silent protest was held at a park Friday afternoon. It was said to have been peaceful.

The shooting, the third in the last week, comes just days after hundreds of people demonstrated in the streets and vandalized businesses in downtown Anaheim. Police said some in the crowd smashed the windows of 20 businesses, set trash can fires, threw rocks and bottles at police and damaged City Hall and police headquarters. Police responded with pepper balls and bean-bag rounds to disperse the crowds. Two dozen people were arrested. They were protesting two deadly officer-involved shootings that happened over the weekend.

Since the vandalism, police say they've doubled the number of officers on patrol.

"Of course there is a heightened level of awareness anytime an officer-involved shooting occurs, but we have a responsibility to protect the citizens of Anaheim and make Anaheim safe and we're committed to doing that and we'll continue doing so no matter what the climate," said Dunn.

Last Saturday, a police officer fatally shot Manuel Diaz outside an apartment complex. Officers said Diaz, who had a criminal record, failed to heed orders and threw something as he fled police. On Sunday night, police shot to death Joel Acevedo, a suspected gang member they say fired at officers after a pursuit.

Anaheim police say the events of the past week will not affect how officers do their jobs in the field. Police say they still have a job to do, which is protecting the community.

Authorities expect more protests over the weekend. Meantime, Anaheim Mayor Tom Tate was slated to meet with the U.S. attorney's office on Friday. The City Council voted earlier this week to ask federal officials to investigate the circumstances surrounding the two recent officer-involved shootings.


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