Pomona, CA – The man who fatally shot one Pomona police officer, and wounded another, during a 15-hour standoff with police was a convicted felon who struggled with depression and drug addiction.
The incident began on Friday night at around 9:10 p.m., when officers tried to pull Valencia over for reckless driving. The driver led officers on a pursuit.
Valencia then crashed his car at an apartment complex in the 1400 block of Palomares Street, and fled on foot before barricading himself in an apartment.
As Officer Casillas rushed to pull the wounded officer to safety, Valencia opened fire again, fatally shooting Officer Casillas in the face.
Officer Casillas was a married father of two young children.
“He left his family at home to protect yours, and his ultimate sacrifice will never be forgotten," Pomona Police Chief Michael Olivieri said, according to FOX News.
The other wounded officer underwent surgery on Saturday, and was expected to recover.
A SWAT team used flash-bang grenades, surveillance cameras, tear gas, and crisis negotiators during the 15-hour standoff, and were ultimately able to convince Valencia to surrender. He was led from the apartment complex wearing only his underwear.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Valencia served in the military prior to the shooting, and had a history of mental health struggles and criminal offenses.
He was sentenced to prison approximately three years ago, after he was convicted for illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition, discharging a gun in a school zone, and destruction of jail property, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation press secretary Vicky Waters told the Los Angeles Times.
He was released onto probation after he served approximately one year in custody.
Amos Young, who knew Valencia through a church ministry, said that Valencia was addicted to drugs, and had been struggling with depression.
"He'd say, 'I'm fine, I'm fine,'" Young told the Los Angeles Times. "No one could force him to go to Tri-City [Mental Health]. No one could force him to contact a rehab."
Young said that Valencia was the father of three children, and described him as a “family man,” KABC reported.
“He's faced with mental illness and unless our city has programs that are going to focus on [these] issues, then these issues will continue to occur," Young said.
Valencia was scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday morning, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Officer Casillas worked as a records specialist and a jailer before he was hired as a sworn officer in September of 2017.
"We are deeply moved by the love and support we have received from our law enforcement brothers and sisters, our community and people across the US during this difficult time," the Pomona Police Department said in a tweet on Saturday evening. "Our hearts are heavy as we mourn the loss of our brother, Officer Gregg Casillas."