Calif. fugitive captured on Main Street
Park City police officers on Monday apprehended a man working in a Main Street real-estate outfit who is wanted in California on a slew of criminal charges, including weapons and gang counts.
Bartholomeu Gurrola, 24, who the police say went by the name of Pete Rubio in Park City, was arrested without incident at the Westgate Resorts tourist-information center at 577 Main St. that evening, Lt. Phil Kirk said. The police describe him as a "violent fugitive."
The police booked Gurrola into the Summit County Jail at 12:45 a.m. Tuesday. He remained imprisoned at the jail on Friday morning.
He is wanted on warrants filed in 2005 and 2003 with a combined bail of $110,000, according to court officials in Tulare County, Calif. Gurrola faces six charges, the court in California said.
They include a concealed-weapons count, a charge of being a member of a street gang, escaping from jail, resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer.
Marsh Carter, a lieutenant in the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department, said a California Highway Patrol officer stopped a driver at about 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 22, 2004 in Cutler, a city in Tulare County.
Gurrola was a passenger in the vehicle and the officer found a handgun when he searched him, Carter said. As the officer was handcuffing Gurrola, the driver exited the vehicle and went for the handgun.
In the struggle, the officer shot and killed the driver, Carter said. Gurrola ran away, he said.
Carter said he did not expect that Gurrola would have fled to Utah. Lots of wanted people of Latino descent in Tulare County escape to Southern California or Mexico, he said.
"I wouldn’t have thought about it, no," he said about Gurrola’s choice to move to Utah.
The Police Department in a Thursday statement said Gurrola told the authorities that he would have fled Park City had he been given a chance. It said Gurrola arrived in Park City a year ago, "trying to remain anonymous and avoid capture."
The police said he would be extradited to California.
Park City police Lt. Phil Kirk said officers Jim Snyder and Chris Oles arrested Gurrola.
Kirk said the Metro Gang Unit in Salt Lake County a few days before the capture told the police in Park City that Gurrola was in the city. The police had a description of him and had been searching for Gurrola since the Police Department received the information, Kirk said.
"We were certainly concerned about his history of very violent gang activity in California," Kirk said, adding, "We thought it was a high priority to get somebody like that behind bars."
Kirk said Snyder reported possibly seeing Gurrola and Oles assisted in the arrest.
The suspect told the police that he had never heard of Gurrola. The Police Department said the officers recognized him from a wanted photo and a description of a tattoo provided by the Metro Gang Unit.
"He pretty much denied who he was," Kirk said. "We were pretty certain who this individual was."
Kirk said Gurrola is not a suspect in any crimes in Park City but the local police and the Metro Gang Unit are continuing to investigate. He is unsure why Gurrola fled to Park City.
Todd Brannigan, the marketing director for Westgate, is surprised with the arrest, saying Gurrola is a "good guy" and a "star employee." He said the suspect worked in marketing for Westgate and was a handyman for Brannigan.
"That guy was nothing but one of the hardest workers I had," he said, adding that Gurrola never called in sick and was always on time.
He said Westgate performs background checks before it hires someone. He could not explain why Gurrola’s past was not known to Westgate officials. He would not have been hired if Westgate realized he was wanted, Brannigan said.
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