HEMET: High-risk, felony stop shuts down Florida Ave, 4 to 5 men detained
HEMET — Hemet PD officers, with assistance from gang task force members, as well as other city, county, state, and federal officials detained several men after conducting a felony traffic stop on an SUV earlier this afternoon. Officials have not released any details regarding the incident or what led to the high-risk stop, which caused the temporary closure of Florida Avenue.
The stop, which happened right in the middle of lunch-time traffic, forced many motorists and pedestrians to seek alternative routes to their destinations and created a short traffic nightmare for those with limited time during their lunch breaks.
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Official police radio traffic indicated that Hemet police officers began following a silver Jeep on Oakland Avenue just before noon. Officers put out a priority radio call for assistance, requesting any and all available units respond to the area as they continued following the Jeep toward San Jacinto Street.
As more officers, deputies, and other law enforcement officials converged on the area from every direction – with lights flashing and sirens wailing – the Jeep then headed south on San Jacinto St. toward Florida Ave.
With no less than eight marked vehicles and several more unmarked vehicles in a long Conga Line behind the Jeep and a Sheriff’s aviation unit circling overhead in “Star-9,” officers initiated a high-risk, felony traffic stop just as the Jeep turned east on Florida Ave.
With so many official vehicles behind the Jeep and more racing to the scene with lights and sirens, the driver wisely chose to immediately yield, stopping just east of the intersection, in front of The Bottle Shop Liquor Store.
Countless marked and unmarked city, county, state, and federal law enforcement vehicles quickly fanned out and lined up in a wide arc behind the Jeep.
The vehicles, nearly two-dozen in all by the time the stop ended, took up all four lanes of traffic on Florida Ave, as well as taking up positions in several area parking lots behind and around the Jeep.
As the stop was unfolding, officers called for the temporary closure of both directions of traffic on Florida Ave., and motor officers were soon seen directing traffic away from the scene of the traffic stop.
Within moments, nearly two dozen uniformed and undercover officials – armed with handguns, shotguns and rifles – as well as less-lethal options such as bean bag shotguns, pepperball rifles, and Tasers – were set up and prepared with all weapons pointed at the Jeep and its numerous occupants. One officer then began slowly and clearly calling each occupant from the vehicle, one at a time.
After all the subjects were safely removed from the vehicle and in handcuffs, officers stacked up in a line with guns drawn and cautiously approached the SUV. After quickly checking the SUV, officers determined the vehicle was empty. Officials were later observed searching the vehicle before it was towed from the area.
Witnesses later reported seeing at least 4 to 5 men pulled from the SUV. All were reportedly detained and later transported from the scene to Hemet PD for further investigation.
After the conclusion of the traffic stop officers re-opened Florida Ave.
Officials have not yet released any information about the reason for the traffic stop, if anything was recovered from the vehicle, or stated if the stop resulted in any arrests.
SEE FOLLOW UP REPORT: One dead, two arrested, after Hemet man repeatedly stabbed during home invasion
This is a developing story that will be updated as additional information is available.
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Trevor Montgomery, 46, recently moved to Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for several other news organizations, including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, The Valley Chronicle and Anza Valley Outlook, as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and The Mountain Echo in Shasta County.
Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)
During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations, including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center and Lake Elsinore Station, along with other locations.
Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.
Trevor has been married for more than 27 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and has 13 children and 14 – soon to be 15 – grandchildren.