Standoff suspect in critical condition, investigation continues

Standoff suspect in critical condition, investigation continues

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — The suspect from a long and tense police standoff is reported in critical condition as of Monday.

That's three days after the incident at McDonald Way near Belle Terrace, where police say 29-year-old Miguel Villaneuva shot at officers several times and was eventually hit "multiple" times by return gunfire.

Eyewitness News was contacted by a woman who identified herself as Villaneuva's girlfriend. She complained his family isn't getting enough information about what happened, or his condition at the hospital. The woman was with a man identified as Villaneuva's brother, though neither would give an interview about their concerns.

But, they have a dispute about a gun police found at the scene, though the woman also wouldn't explain their concerns about that.

On Monday, Bakersfield Police Sgt. Joe Grubbs said a weapon was retrieved from the scene but told Eyewitness News an investigation is continuing to “determine the source of that gun."

Grubbs also said only Bakersfield Police Department officers shot at the suspect, though both California Highway Patrol officers and Kern County Sheriff's Office deputies were at the scene.

Investigators said a CHP officer tried to pull over Villaneuva for allegedly talking on a cellphone while driving. He reportedly took off on a short chase, hit a parked car, then ran into the garage off McDonald.

"CHP officers tried to locate the suspect in that garage area, and the suspect fired shots at the CHP officers," Grubbs had reported on Friday.

That was the first gunfire.

Grubbs said the CHP called for police backup, and they ordered Villaneuva to surrender.

Then, came a second firefight.

"Once officers got there, he also engaged our officers with a firearm," Grubbs reported.

Officers say they tried to negotiate with Villaneuva for several hours, even using a robot to make contact, and getting his family to the location.

Both the sheriff's and police SWAT teams were at the scene by then.

Neighbor Darra West said she heard gun shots, and her niece and nephew came in from riding their bicycles. They were scared. Officers told the family to stay inside, but West said she could still hear the suspect yelling nearby.

"He requested a cellphone," West said. "Saying he wants to talk to his mother."

Next, West said officers evacuated the family from their apartment. Several hours later they finally got back in, and that's when she found two bullet holes in the wall of the living room.

The final shots were fired at about 7 p.m.

"At some point, the garage door opened where we had a visual of (the suspect), and there were shots exchanged," Grubbs said.

By Monday, Grubbs said he could not release the number of shots fired by BPD officers or the suspect. He was able to report the black Toyota Villaneuva was driving was stolen out of Delano, but didn't have any more details.

Police reported Villaneuva is on parole, in what's called "Post Community Release Supervision," or AB 109. A check of Kern County Court records shows he got a five-year prison sentence in 2006 for a case involving a stolen car and reckless evading a peace officer.

"Villaneuva has been arrested for attempted murder of a police officer, and additional charges are anticipated," reads a police statement from Friday.

No officers or neighbors were hurt in the incident.

Grubbs said officers had tried to negotiate with Villaneuva for about two hours before the final firefight.

"He refused to come out, making statements that he was going to go down in a blaze of glory, things like that," Grubbs reported.

By Monday, police said their investigation was still underway, and crime scene tape and officers were still at the garage at about midday. An Eyewitness News reporter could still detect the smell of tear gas when the breeze kicked up.

Days after the incident, Grubbs said the investigation will be "detailed and arduous." That's what they expected even just hours after it ended.

"It's going to be a long-term investigation," Grubbs had promised Friday night. "To kind of figure out exactly what transpired."