TONASKET — A man was taken to the ground and handcuffed in the parking lot at Roosters Espresso and Ice Cream Saturday, Sept. 22, when he appeared to be about to pull a gun on Tonasket Police officer John Cruz.
Jesus Torres Molina, 20, was arrested on suspicion of unlawful possession of a firearm and still confined in the Okanogan County Jail as of Chronicle press time Monday. Bail was set at $15,000 on Monday.
Officer Cruz pulled the vehicle, occupied by Torres Molina and his mother, over for speeding around 6:30 p.m. Cruz said the driver was refusing to stop, so he had to force the vehicle over by passing and pulling in front of it.
“I was driving northbound on Western, turning my emergency lights on at Fifth Avenue, and the driver made a right hand turn and was heading towards Oroville,” Cruz said Monday. “I came in from behind and cut the vehicle off in front of Roosters to stop them.”
Cruz said Torres Molina got out of his vehicle and began walking towards Cruz, aggressively asking why they had been pulled over.
“He was walking from his vehicle and not listening to my commands to get his hands out of his pocket,” said Cruz, “so I drew my weapon at a low-ready angle. I secured his right hand behind his back and re-holstered my firearm. I went to put him in handcuffs, so did a passive frisk and found a handgun in his pocket. At that point in time he decided to fight and resist arrest, so I placed him on the ground, handcuffed him and secured the firearm.”
Cruz said Tonasket Police Chief Darin Odegaard quickly arrived on scene, along with four Okanogan County Sheriff’s deputies.
“While I was conducting a search incident to arrest, I located an alleged methamphetamine pipe and drugs that appeared to be methamphetamine,” said Cruz. “And the sheriff’s deputies uncovered brass knuckles in his upper pocket, which are illegal to have in Washington state.”
When the deputies ran the subject’s name, they notified Cruz he was convicted as a felon in Okanogan County.
“I was notified by the subject himself that he is a gang member of the Surenos. He was wearing some blue articles of clothing (his belt) and had tattoos with the gang logo,” said Cruz. “He said he was from Bridgeport. His mother, who did not speak English, said he was born in Mexico. It is unknown at this time if he is a legal citizen.”
Cruz said Torres Molina’s mother was very helpful with providing information and letting them search the car which belonged to her.
“The sheriff office’s drug dog got a hit on the vehicle, and the subject admitted to smoking meth in the vehicle while his mom was out working in the orchard,” said Cruz.
There were five police cars on scene, with deputies Schraeble, Holloway, Everett and Curtis responding from the sheriff’s office along with Chief Odegaard.
“I am so thankful, and very appreciative for their response and support,” said Cruz. “It has been an overwhelming pleasure working with the Okanogan County Sheriff’s office.”
Officer Cruz invited people visit the Tonasket Police Department’s Facebook page.
“It will be used for public awareness announcements and current police activity. We want to keep the public informed,” said Cruz.