Individual Arrested for Attempting to Carjack a Law Enforcement Official
|U.S. Attorney’s Office August 18, 2011|
SAN JUAN, PR—Today, a criminal complaint was authorized by United States Magistrate Judge Marcos E. López against Anthony Vázquez-Arroyo for attempting to take a motor vehicle that was transported, shipped, and received in interstate or foreign commerce from the person and presence of another by force, violence, and intimidation, with the intent to cause death and serious bodily harm, announced today Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. This investigation is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with the collaboration of the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD).
Yesterday morning a female police officer (hereinafter referred to as “the victim”) with the Puerto Rico Special Investigations Bureau (Negociado de Investigaciones Especiales—NIE), was driving her own personal vehicle when a gold-colored Ford Explorer immediately in front of her vehicle, began riding backwards, hitting the victim’s vehicle. She turned off the engine, placed the keys on her pocket and exited her vehicle.
The victim observed a male, later identified as Anthony Vázquez-Arroyo, leaving the Explorer. Vázquez-Arroyo began walking towards the victim, and when he was at arm’s length distance from the victim, he pulled a handgun from behind his waist and pointed the gun at the victim. The defendant announced it was a robbery and that he was taking the victim with him.
Once in the vehicle, the victim feared that the defendant intended to cause her serious harm or death, and feared that he would have additional reasons to kill her once he realized she was a law enforcement officer. Therefore, the victim resisted by pushing the defendant back. The victim observed that Vázquez-Arroyo was confused or distracted because he could not find the keys to the vehicle, which were in the victim’s pocket. At that point, the victim took advantage of Vázquez-Arroyo’s distraction and began kicking the defendant and was able to grab his gun. Vázquez-Arroyo hit the victim several times in an attempt to obtain the gun back, but the victim was able to maintain control of the weapon. At that point, Vázquez-Arroyo attempted to take the victim’s purse, but the victim struggled to retain it, because it contained her official police weapon. The victim was then able to open the passenger door and exit the vehicle with both her purse and Vázquez-Arroyo’s gun.
A fellow NIE officer who was driving behind the victim’s vehicle noticed the situation and saw the victim exit out the passenger side door of her car. The victim yelled to the NIE officer that “she was being robbed.” The NIE officer immediately drew his weapon and yelled at Vázquez-Arroyo to stop but he continued running and entered the Explorer. The NIE officer then saw Vázquez-Arroyo turning to his right side toward the back of the vehicle with his right arm stretched, as if pointing a gun towards the NIE officer. The NIE officer thought that Vázquez-Arroyo was going to shoot at him, so he decided to open fire again against Vázquez-Arroyo, who fled the scene but was arrested soon thereafter.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Marcela Mateo. If convicted, the defendant could face up to 15 years in prison. Criminal complaints contain only charges and are not evidence of guilt. Defendants are presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty. The investigation continues.