UPDATE: One dead, two arrested, after Hemet man repeatedly stabbed inside home
HEMET — Barely 12 hours after Hemet’s first homicide of 2018, officials investigating last Sunday night’s murder of a man repeatedly stabbed inside his mobile home located and apprehended two men they say were responsible for the victim’s death. The pair was taken into custody during a dramatic high-risk, felony traffic stop that temporarily shut down Florida Avenue during lunch-time traffic.
The two alleged suspects – one of which was the victim’s own step son – were detained the afternoon following the previous night’s violent and deadly attack. Both were later arrested and booked for murder. Additional charges could be filed by the DA’s office, according to officials.
After the swift apprehensions, Hemet Police Chief Rob Webb praised his officers for the quick arrests, admitting to RCNS the night of the men’s capture, “We had a very busy day with our first homicide of the year.”
“I am very proud to lead such a dedicated team of professionals who do phenomenal work every day,” Webb continued. “Our team of officers and detectives are relentless and our closure rates in major cases speak for themselves.”
Riverside County Sheriff-Coroner’s officials later identified 36-year-old, Hemet resident, Luis Perez, as the man killed when his step son – later identified as 19-year-old Alonso Rodriguez, and another man, 20-year-old Mario Delacruz – stabbed the victim multiple times inside his Desert Palms mobile home.
According to a coroner’s release Perez succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced deceased at Riverside University Health System in Moreno Valley. He died about four hours after the fatal incident and officials listed his time of death as 3:24 a.m.
After being apprehended during a traffic stop involving countless marked, unmarked, and undercover vehicles and nearly two dozen city, county, state, and federal law enforcement officers, officials transported both Rodriguez and Delacruz to Coys Bird Detention Center in Murrieta.
The murder investigation began late Sunday evening, May 13, at 11:20 p.m., after City of Hemet Police and Fire Departments received reports of a stabbing involving at least two suspects. 911 callers reported a victim was stabbed “multiple times” inside his mobile home, located on the 1000 block of N. State Street.
After repeatedly stabbing Perez and leaving him bleeding and dying on the ground, the alleged suspects – later identified as Rodriguez and Delacruz – reportedly fled the area on foot.
Officers began arriving within minutes of the dispatched call and located Perez laying on the ground in a pool of his own blood, in front of his blue and white residence.
According to witnesses, after he was attacked the bloody victim was alert and talking, and Hemet PD Lt. Eddie Pust later confirmed the victim was still alive when officers and rescue personnel arrived at the scene.
“He was immediately transported to a nearby hospital where he later succumbed to his injuries,” Pust explained.
Based on the circumstances, Hemet PD’s Investigation’s Bureau responded to the scene and assumed the investigation.
As the investigation continued through the night and into the next day officers developed leads and gathered information that ultimately led them to identify Rodriguez and Delacruz as the two men who fatally attacked Perez.
After identifying the two possible suspects officials began actively searching for the pair and officers eventually spotted the two men just before noon. Official radio traffic at the time indicated the officers spotted the pair traveling on Oakland Avenue in a silver Jeep.
Based on the severity of the prior evening’s fatal attack, 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 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 onto Florida Ave.
According to officials and witnesses the vehicle immediately yielded, stopping just east of the intersection in front of The Bottle Shop Liquor Store.
Within moments, about a dozen city, county, state, and federal law enforcement vehicles fanned out and lined up in a wide arc behind the Jeep, taking up all four lanes of traffic on Florida Ave. Other official vehicles took up positions in several area parking lots behind and around the Jeep.
During the stop, which happened right in the middle of lunch-time traffic, 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.
With handguns, shotguns and rifles – as well as less-lethal options including bean bag shotguns, pepperball rifles, and Tasers – pointed at the Jeep, officials took the two men into custody without incident.
Early reports based on witness statements that the fatal stabbing was related to a home invasion were determined to be false and Pust later clarified, “This investigation had nothing to do with a home invasion.”
Jail records indicated the alleged suspects were arrested at Hemet PD several hours later, around 9 p.m. The pair remain in custody on $1 million bail each, and are scheduled to be arraigned at an unspecified court May 17.
Saying the murder investigation and quick arrests were examples of Hemet PD’s dedication to the citizens of Hemet, Webb reminded the City’s citizens, “If you commit a crime in the City of Hemet you will be caught and you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
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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.