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HOMICIDE

On Monday, June 10, 2024, at approximately 3:07 p.m., the Yuma Police Department responded to a report of an accidental shooting in the 1900 block of 3rd Avenue.

 

Initially, 23-year-old Cody Meier stated he was cleaning his rifle and it accidentally went off, hitting a 19-year-old male.  Further investigation revealed that 19-year-old Angel Campa was the one who recklessly handled the rifle that shot the 19-year-old male and fled the scene.  At approximately 7:33 p.m. Angel Campa turned himself in to officers at 2400 S. Avenue A and was taken into custody without incident. 

 

Cody Meier was arrested and booked for Hindering Prosecution and False Reporting.  Angel Campa was arrested and booked for Second Degree Murder and Disorderly Conduct with a Weapon. 

 

The victim, identified as 19-year-old Raymond Ruiz, was pronounced deceased on scene.  Next of kin notifications have been made.

 

This case is still under investigation.

 

The Yuma Police Department encourages anyone with any information about this case to please call the Yuma Police Department at (928) 373-4700 or 78-Crime at (928) 782-7463 to remain anonymous.  Remember, if your information leads to an arrest, you may receive up to a $1,000 cash reward.

CHILD ABUSE

On Tuesday, May 21st, 2024, Arizona Department of Child Safety notified Yuma Police Department that a five-month child with head injuries was flown from Yuma Regional Medical Center to Phoenix Children’s Hospital for further treatment.  As a result of this notice, Yuma Police Department Detectives worked in collaboration with Phoenix Police Department, and Department of Child Safety where the incident location was identified in the 8500 block of E. 38th St. 

 

On Friday, May 24th, 2024, and as a result of this collaborative investigation, the father of the child, 41-year-old Christiano Toilolo, was arrested for multiple offenses to include child abuse and aggravated assault.   

 

The Yuma Police Department encourages anyone with any information about this case to please call the Yuma Police Department at (928) 373-4700 or 78-Crime at (928) 782-7463 to remain anonymous. 

SHOTS FIRED - 15 YEAR OLD IN CUSTODY

On Thursday, May 30, 2024, at approximately 11:25 am, the Yuma Police Department responded to reports of shots being fired in the area of 4th Avenue and 16th Street.

 

The initial investigation revealed that multiple shots were fired at a moving vehicle in the 17th Street and 5th Avenue. There are no reported injuries at this time.

 

A 15-year-old male has been taken into custody in reference to this incident. He has been booked into the Yuma County Juvenile Justice Detention Facility on multiple felony charges including Attempted Murder 1st Degree.

 

Alice Byrne Elementary School and Student Choice High School were placed on a shelter in place as a precautionary measure.

 

This is an active investigation.

 

The Yuma Police Department encourages anyone with any information about this case to please call the Yuma Police Department at (928) 373-4700 or 78-Crime at (928) 782-7463 to remain anonymous. 

MEMORIAL WEEKEND FIRE AT IMPERIAL WILDLIFE REFUGE AREA UPDATE

Update 5/29/24: As of today, charges are not being filed by the Yuma County Attorney's Office.

Fire crews made significant progress on the Refuge Fire along the exterior of the perimeter. The fire is burning in salt cedar which holds heat. This means the fire will continue to smolder for many weeks to come. There are many hazards in the interior areas of the fire related to smoldering fuels and holes where the fire has burned into the layers of combustible materials that have built up over many years. The weather is another factor, increasing temperatures, lower relative humidity of 5 to 10 percent and gusting winds will keep the already burned fuels smoldering. Fire suppression repair of the endangered species areas needs to be completed by fire personnel to allow the ongoing protection of fish and wildlife.

 

Over 100 fire personnel are working to fully contain the fire so that a date can be set to reopen the refuge.

Community Response: Firefighters are continuing to work on the roads around the fire. We are requesting that the public continue to exercise patience during the closure for the safety of themselves and fire crews. There are currently no threats to surrounding communities, infrastructure, or natural resources.

 

Smoke: Smoke production is very limited, but some smoldering of fuels will continue into the near future.

 

Closures: Red Cloud Mine Road and Meers Point Recreation Area.

 

Fire Restrictions: No fires are allowed in Fish and Wildlife Service areas. More information about fire management can be found at: www.fws.gov/program/fire-management.

Location: Imperial National Wildlife Refuge, north of Martinez Lake, Yuma AZ

Start Date: May 25, 2024

Size: Approximately 1037 Acres

Percent Contained: 20%

Cause: Human Caused, Under Investigation - see post below in reference to an arrest 

Vegetation: Salt Cedar and Riparian vegetation

YCSO ADVISES OF ANOTHER SCAM

The Yuma County Sheriff’s Office is receiving multiple reports reference a warrant scam; where criminals masquerading as Officers, are calling residents and informing them that a warrant has been issued for their arrest. They are then offered a choice to either pay for the warrant or have an officer sent over to arrest them.

They have been known to use names of local judges, officers, and even spoofing numbers on your caller i.d. in order to make the scam seem legitimate. The scammers will typically demand that the money be paid by money transfer, prepaid card, or by an online payment system.

If you receive a call from a law enforcement agency requesting payment to avoid being arrested-it's a scam. Hang up!

Please advise any friends and family members who may fall victim to these fraudulent calls and inform them of this trending scam.

ARSON ARREST MADE IN REFUGE FIRE

On Saturday, May 25, 2024, at approximately 1:59 PM, Yuma County Sheriff’s Office Deputies were dispatched to the area of the Colorado River and Zoo Island in reference to a large fire.

 

Multiple agencies in the area also responded to assist; to include, Lake Martinez Fire, Yuma Proving Ground Fire, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Rural Metro, and Bureau of Land Management.

 

 Upon Deputy arrival, the fire was active and fire crews worked to extinguish the fire as it burned several wildland acres of the Imperial National Wildlife Refuge.

 

Initial investigation revealed arson was the cause of the fire. A suspect identified as Jason Bradley Martin, 47, of Yuma, AZ, was arrested and booked into the Yuma County Detention Center on Reckless Burning, Arson of Structure/Property, Criminal Damage, Burn Wildlands Violated Order, and Endangerment.

 

This case remains under investigation at this time.

 

Anyone with information regarding this case, please contact the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office at 928-783-4427 or 78-CRIME to remain anonymous

DOT ADVISES DRIVERS TO PLAN FOR RESTRICTIONS ON US 95

The Arizona Department of Transportation advises drivers to plan ahead for lane restrictions on US 95 between Rifle Range Road (milepost 35) and Wellton Mohawk Canal Bridge (milepost 39) in Yuma.

The following restrictions will occur 24 hours a day, 7 days a week beginning Monday, May 20 through November 2024:

  • Traffic traveling through the project will be moved to the new pavement to the west.

  • An 11-foot vehicle width restriction will remain in place. 

  • A reduced speed limit of 45 mph will remain in place.

  • Note: Flaggers and Arizona Department of Public Safety personnel will direct motorists through the work zone as needed between 7 p.m. and 5 a.m.

Delays are likely, so travelers should allow extra travel time. 

FATAL COLLISION

On Wednesday, May 8, 2024, at approximately 9:40 A.M., the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a two-vehicle collision in the area of Highway 95 and Avenue 3 ½ E. 

 

The initial investigation revealed a 1999 Chevrolet Silverado was traveling eastbound on Highway 95, when for unknown reasons; it crossed the centerline into westbound traffic. The Chevrolet Silverado then collided into a 2015 Chrysler 200 traveling westbound on Highway 95.

 

The driver of the Chevrolet Silverado, identified as Jose Escobar, 43, Yuma, AZ, was pronounced deceased on scene. Next of kin notification has been made.

The driver of the Chrysler was transported to Yuma Regional Medical Center with serious injuries.

 

This case remains under investigation at this time. Alcohol does not appear to be a factor in this collision

 

Anyone with information regarding this case, please contact the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office at 928-783-4427 or 78-CRIME to remain anonymous. You can also visit our website at www.yumacountysheriff.org to submit an anonymous tip.

    

 

DOUBLE HOMICIDE UPDATE

   

UPDATE 2: During the course of the investigation, the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office (YCSO) Investigations Bureau identified a suspect.

 

On Friday, May 3, 2024, the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office, with the assistance of the Yuma Police Department, served a search warrant at a residence in the 1900 Block of W. Chico Lane.

 

The suspect, identified asRomeo Jay Arellano, 19, of Yuma, AZ, was arrested and booked into the Yuma County Detention Center on two counts of Premeditated 1stDegree Murder.

 

The Yuma County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the following agencies: the Homeland Security Investigations, the Yuma Police Department, and the YCSO Helicopter Unit for their assistance.

 

This case remains under investigation at this time.

 

 

UPDATE 1 - May 3, 2024 - 9:30 AM: The victims of the homicide have been identified as Manuel Marquez, 82 of Yuma, AZ and Patricia Marquez, 79, of Yuma, AZ.

 

Next of kin notifications have been made. This case remains under investigation at this time.

 

Original - May 2, 2024 – 11:05 AM

On Wednesday, May 1, 2024, at approximately 8:58 PM, Yuma County Sheriff’s Office Deputies were dispatched to a residence in the 1900 Block of W. Chico Lane in reference to a possible burglary and two missing persons.

 

The reporting party went to check on the elderly couple that resided at the residence and contacted law enforcement after noticing the residence had been possibly burglarized.

 

Upon arrival, Deputies conducted a search of the property and located the missing male and female deceased inside the residence.

 

The Yuma County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Bureau responded and assumed the investigation.

 

This case is being investigated as a homicide. It remains under investigation at this time.

 

Anyone with information regarding this case, please contact the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office at 928-783-4427 or 78-CRIME to remain anonymous. You can also visit our website at www.yumacountysheriff.org[yumacountysheriff.org] to submit an anonymous tip.

 

Information Released By:  Tania Pavlak, Public Affairs Specialist  

FATALITY COLLISION UPDATE

On Friday, March 22, 2024, at about 12:40 a.m., Yuma Police officers responded to a report of an injury collision in the intersection of East County 16th Street and South Avenue 3E.

 

The initial investigation revealed a 27-year-old male, driving a 2022 Tesla, was traveling eastbound on County 16th Street at a high rate of speed and failed to stop at the stop sign at Avenue 3E. The Tesla collided with a 2006 Toyota Scion, driven by a 29-year-old male, traveling southbound on Avenue 3E. The 29-year-old male was ejected from his vehicle and pronounced deceased on scene. The 27-year-old male was extracted from his vehicle and transported to Yuma Regional Medical Center in serious but stable condition. There were no passengers in either vehicle.

 

This case is still being investigated. While at this time it is known speed was a factor it is unknown if impairment was a factor. 

 

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UPDATE: On Tuesday, May 14, 2024, 27-year-old Alexander Trace Ray was taken into custody and booked into Yuma County Detention Center for 2nd Degree Homicide, Endangerment, AGG DUI, Criminal Damage, Reckless and Aggressive Driving. The investigation revealed that Alexander Ray was driving at excessive speeds with a young child in the vehicle. The child was left with a relative before the collision occurred. There were no passengers in either vehicle at the time of the collision.

 

The deceased driver of the Toyota Scion has been identified as 29-year-old Ruben Orozco Gonzalez.

 

WEAPONS VIOLATION AT YUMA HIGH

 

On Wednesday, May 8, 2024, at approximately 1:01 p.m., the Yuma Police Department received information that a student at Yuma High School possibly had a weapon on school grounds.

  

The Yuma High School Administration was notified that a student possibly had a gun on campus.  The School Resource Officer was made aware of the information and immediately contacted the student.  The student, a 16 year old male, was in possession of a handgun and taken into custody.  The 16 year old male was booked into the Yuma County Juvenile Justice Center for carrying a weapon on school grounds and carrying a deadly weapon under the age of 21. 

 

There were no injuries or threats reported in reference to this case.  The Yuma Police Department worked with the Yuma Union High School District in reference to this case. 

 

The Yuma Police Department encourages anyone with any information about this case to please call the Yuma Police Department at 928-373-4700 or 78-Crime at (928) 782-7463 to remain anonymous. 

ATTEMPTED HOMICIDE - TEEN INJURED

 

On Saturday, March 30, 2024, at approximately 9:47 p.m., the Yuma Police Department responded to a report of a drive-by shooting in the 8000 block of E 38th Lane.

 

The initial investigation revealed unknown suspect(s) shot numerous rounds into a residence in the 8000 block of E 38th Lane, which was occupied by seven individuals.  One victim, a 17-year-old female, received multiple gunshot wounds and was transported to Yuma Regional Medical Center and further taken to a Phoenix-area hospital in serious condition.  One other resident received minor injuries. 

 

This case is still under investigation.

 

The Yuma Police Department encourages anyone with any information about this case to please call the Yuma Police Department at (928) 373-4700 or 78-Crime at (928) 782-7463 to remain anonymous.  Remember, if your information leads to an arrest, you may receive up to a $1,000 cash reward.

 

ARSON - HISTORIC YUMA BUILDING DESTROYED

UPDATE: On Wednesday, March 27, 2024, at approximately 6:44 p.m., 22-year-old Angel Alvarado was arrested and booked into the Yuma County Detention Center reference a separate unrelated case. On Thursday, March 28, 2024, after investigative leads were confirmed by YPD’s Property Crimes detectives, Alvarado was additionally charged with two counts of arson of a structure reference case 2024-18639.

On Wednesday, March 27th, shortly before 5:00 pm, the Yuma Fire Department was dispatched to a report of a commercial occupancy on fire in the 400 block of Main Street. The arriving firefighters located a fully engulfed warehouse-type structure. That building was the historic Southern Pacific Freight Depot that was built in 1891.

 

The building was known to be vacant and fire crews utilized a defense strategy to ensure that the fire did not spread to adjacent structures.  Crews located a vacant home approximately 200 feet to the east that was also actively burning. Arriving crews were able to extinguish both fires and protect surrounding structures. No injuries were reported. Yuma Fire Department Fire Investigators determined the fires had been intentionally set.

 

The Yuma Police Department’s initial investigation showed an unknown subject started the structure fires at 452 S. Maiden Lane, which is a vacant home, and then at 430 S. Main Street, which is the historical Southern Pacific Freight Depot.  Both buildings are a total loss. 

 

YPD’s Property Crimes detectives are actively working on a possible suspect in this case.

 

The Yuma Police Department encourages anyone with any information about this case to please call the Yuma Police Department at (928) 783-4421 or 78-CRIME at (928) 782-7463 to remain anonymous.

SCHOOL THREATS

 

On Monday, March 25 2024, at approximately 6:11 p.m., the Yuma Police Department received information about a possible threat of violence to occur at Ron Watson Middle School tomorrow, March 26th, 2024.

 

Our officers, with the help of  Ron Watson Middle School, are actively investigating this threat. At this time, it is found that there is no validity to the threat.

 

The Yuma Police Department takes all school threats very seriously and will investigate each and every one of them. We appreciate the members of our community who alerted us to this incident and gave us the opportunity to verify the threat.

FATAL COLLISION

On Sunday March 24, 2024, at approximately 5:08 PM, the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a vehicle submerged in the Gila Gravity Canal with one subject trapped inside.

 

The initial investigation revealed a 1998 Dodge Dakota was traveling westbound on the Gila Gravity Canal Road when it failed to negotiate a turn. The vehicle drove off the south side of the road rolling over into the canal.

 

The driver of the vehicle, a juvenile of Yuma, AZ, was able to exit the vehicle and was uninjured.

The passenger of the vehicle, a juvenile of Yuma, AZ, was unable to exit the vehicle and later recovered by the YCSO Dive Team.

 

The passenger was pronounced deceased on scene. Next of kin has been notified.

 

This case remains under investigation at this time. Alcohol does not appear to be a factor in this collision

 

Anyone with information regarding this case, please contact the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office at 928-783-4427 or 78-CRIME to remain anonymous. You can also visit our website at www.yumacountysheriff.org to submit an anonymous tip.

JUDGE CENSURED

The Commission on Judicial Conduct announced that on March 15, 2024, the Supreme Court of Arizona issued a public censure against Juan M. Guerrero, Justice of the Peace, Yuma County Justice Court, Precinct 2. The Commission on Judicial Conduct previously accepted a stipulated resolution between the Commission’s Disciplinary Counsel and Judge Guerrero. The stipulated resolution concluded formal charges of misconduct filed against Judge Guerrero on January 16, 2024, in two separate complaints.

The first complaint (CJC Case No. 23-181) was initiated by the Commission on May 8, 2023, following Judge Guerrero’s arrest and citation for driving while under the influence on April 4, 2023. Judge Guerrero was later convicted of misdemeanor driving under the influence on November 29, 2023.

The second complaint (CJC Case No. 23-474) was initiated by Presiding Yuma County Superior Court Judge David Haws on December 4, 2023. The second complaint also alleged misconduct relating to the arrest and conviction for misdemeanor driving under the influence, and further alleged misuse of
government resources and acceptance of payment for wedding ceremonies performed during court hours.

Under the stipulated resolution, Judge Guerrero agreed to resign his position as a justice of the peace and agreed that he will not to serve as a judicial officer in any capacity in the State of Arizona. Judge Guerrero further agreed to accept a public censure.

https://www.azcourts.gov/portals/137/reports/2023/23-474.pdf

https://www.azcourts.gov/portals/137/reports/2023/23-181.pdf

 

ARMED ROBBERY

On Wednesday, March 13, 2024, at approximately 9:56 p.m., officers responded to a report of an armed robbery that just occurred in the 7000 block of E. 42nd Place.  While en route, officers were made aware it was a home invasion involving kidnapping and theft of multiple firearms.

 

The investigation revealed two male subjects entered the residence and held the resident, a 79 year old male with limited mobility, at gunpoint for an extended period of time.  During this time, the suspects threatened his life and assaulted him while trying to get a safe opened.  The female victim, 63 years old, returned home and was also held at gunpoint and threatened until the safe combination was obtained.  The suspects took multiple guns and other items from the residence and fled the scene.

 

With the assistance of Yuma Sector Border Patrol’s specialty units, Yuma County Sheriff’s Department and Arizona Western College Police, both suspects were located and taken into custody.  The suspects were identified as 18 year old Jayden Patino and a 17 year old juvenile male.  Both suspects were booked on multiple felony charges to include Burglary, Aggravated Assault, Kidnapping, Theft, Armed Robbery and Aggravated Robbery.

 

There were minor injuries reported.  This case is still under investigation.

 

The Yuma Police Department encourages anyone with any information about this case to call the Yuma Police Department at 928-373-4700 or 78-Crime at (928) 782-7463 to remain anonymous.

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