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Montebello pursuit suspect is brother of deputy

March 29, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
The L.A. County Sheriff's Department confirmed on Tuesday that the suspect in a fatal officer-involved shooting Monday was the brother of a deputy.

Officials also said the slain suspect, 31-year-old Jorge Alberto Jimenez, called his brother just moments before he was shot by Montebello police on Monday afternoon. He also talked to his sister on the phone.

"I just received a call from him telling me, 'Sister, I love you, I love you,'" said Jimenez's sister, Nancy Jimenez. "Those were his last words he told me."

The suspect's girlfriend called police, saying Jimenez was armed and had been drinking and fled with their 3-year-old daughter.

After an hourlong pursuit Monday, Jimenez made a U-turn toward police near the corner of Greenwood Avenue, which authorities deemed an aggressive maneuver. Jimenez walked out of the car and was shot several times holding what appeared to be a weapon.

Officials said Monday it was an incident of "suicide by cop."

Seconds after the shooting, a woman believed to be Jimenez's girlfriend ran into the street and pulled a small child out of the car. The child was OK. Jimenez's mother had to be restrained at the scene after she saw her son's body on the ground.

Sheriff's investigators say six officers felt threatened by Jimenez's behavior and shot simultaneously.

Investigators say they have positive proof that not only did the suspect have a weapon and aimed it at them, there is evidence that he fired at police officers multiple times.

Nancy Jimenez disputes the facts that led to the pursuit and deadly confrontation. She says Jorge was just taking his daughter to McDonald's.

According to L.A. County Sheriff's investigators, Jimenez fired four rounds at officers at the end of the chase. Montebello officers returned fire, shooting 10 to 30 rounds.

Police say Jimenez had made threats during the chase, that if they continued to lay down spike strips, a cop was going to get hurt, he allegedly said.

"As you can see by the placement of the cars, they stopped, he came out, raised the weapon, and an officer-involved shooting occurred," said L.A. County Sheriff's Lt. Dave Coleman.

Asked why Jimenez had a gun with him, sister Nancy said, "Because he was a security guard, he has a license to carry a gun."

Bullet holes were visible on several cars in the area, and bullets also flew into nearby apartments, causing neighbors to ask questions.

"I think they overdid it. He was already on the floor, and they still kept shooting," said neighbor Albert Saldavar.

"I heard a lot of shots, at least 15 to 20 shots nonstop. I haven't heard something like this in a while," said neighbor Luis Cervantes. "I grew up in East L.A. and you would hear something like that, but I never thought it would happen around here like that."

One bullet entered a second-floor window on Greenwood. Cars on the street were struck by bullets.

A Montebello Police lieutenant says there will be a shooting review after the L.A. County Sheriff's Dept. concludes its investigation.

A memorial was set up Tuesday at the location where Jimenez was shot.

"He was a nice guy. I knew him from high school, and he didn't deserve to die like that," said Maria Catarain.

The Jimenez family said Jorge and his girlfriend were expecting their second child.