Officer Gregory Casillas' Killer Identified - Here's What We Know

Records reveal the history of the young hero's killer.

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.

Both officers were rushed to the Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center on Friday, where 30-year-old Officer Gregory Casillas, a six-month veteran of the force, was pronounced dead, KABC reported.

He was completing his final day of field training when he was murdered, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Isaias De Jesus Valencia, 39, was apprehended on Saturday afternoon, and is being held on suspicion of murder of a police officer, and attempted murder of other peace officers.

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.

He opened fire on pursuing officers through the closed apartment door, striking one of them, Los Angeles Sheriff Jim McDonnel said, according to FOX News.

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."

Comments
No. 1-5
Rving
Rving

Where did he get the guns? Legally?

Workingonsix
Workingonsix

Mental health is real, I get that. But when are we going to stop excusing them the mentally ill for killing people because they have an illness. Tweaker’s and mentally ill are almost synonymous. Doesn’t mean they get to kill.

cclaxton
cclaxton

Are we supposed to feel sorry for Valencia because he was a "family man" and addicted to drugs? The facts of his previous serious crimes should have put him into required monitoring.

prophetess anna
prophetess anna

my heart is also heavy, with pain, at the loss of Officer Casillas. i wish i could take your pain away---please except our sincerest sympathies--please know that you are in my heart and in my thoughts and prayers---if i can pray with you, please let me know---GOD BLESS YOU ALL--