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PALESTINE, April 16, 2013—In a press conference held this morning, Palestine Police Chief Robert Herbert and Sgt. James Muniz expressed relief that the hunt for 30 year-old Jorge Mendoza had come to an end safely.
Mendoza, who was wanted on a parole revocation warrant, had been evading police since he was recognized during his involvement in a disturbance on April 13. At that time, he eluded capture and escaped into a wooded area. Although a Department of Public Safety (DPS) helicopter and TDCJ tracking dogs were called in, Mendoza was able to slip past the perimeter before it was completely contained.
Police continued to search for Mendoza, and the public was alerted, through various news sources, to report any sighting.
Yesterday afternoon, police received information Mendoza was possibly located at an apartment in the 200 block of Church Street. A team, consisting of Palestine PD officers, officers from the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department, and officers from the U.S. Marshall’s Office, was assembled. The team went to the location, but was unable to locate Mendoza.
A short time later, police received a report regarding a subject who was attempting to break into a house in the 700 block of Lamar Street. Although police were unable to locate Mendoza at that location, a search of the area lead an officer to the 800 block of Lamar Street, where he spotted Mendoza inside the garage of a residence.
Mendoza, who had two firearms in his possession, stayed in the garage through six hours of negotiation before finally turning himself in. During that time, Palestine Police Sgt. James Muniz and Detective James Kassaw, both trained negotiators, attempted to reason with Mendoza. According to Sgt. Muniz, bargains were used in exchange for Mendoza turning over his weapons. The first gun, as well as his ammunition, were turned over in exchange for something to drink. His second gun was turned over in exchange for a conversation with his mother and brother, which he was allowed once he was placed into custody.
Mendoza was taken to jail and booked in on his outstanding state parole warrant, which carries no bond. He also had an outstanding warrant out of Cherokee County, and outstanding federal warrants. He was expected to be arraigned this morning. Deputies from the U.S. Marshall’s Office were expected to pick up Mendoza after his arraignment and take him into custody for the federal warrants.
Palestine Police are continuing their investigation. Once their reports are filed, it will be up to the District Attorney’s Office and the Assistant U.S. District Attorney’s Office whether additional state or federal charges will be filed.
Palestine Police Chief Robert Herbert commended the tireless work of the law enforcement teams involved, giving special credit to Sgt. Muniz and Det. Kassaw. “I was glad to see these men do an outstanding job,” said Chief Herbert. “We stood the course. We were there and it was a peaceful resolution.”
An arrest does not mean that the individual or individuals have been convicted of the alleged violation, unless otherwise noted. Individuals are innocent until proven guilty by a court of law.
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