Bonds set against trio involved in chase, police shootings, manhunt

Montgomery County Chronicle

INDEPENDENCE — Three people involved in high-speed chase in Oklahoma that included the wounding of an Oologah, Okla., police officer and a shootout with a Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department deputy on May 28-29 appeared in Montgomery County District Court on Monday.

Alejandro Garcia, Cesar Rios and Roxanne Mendoza are alleged to have instigated a high-speed chase in Oklahoma that evolved into a shooting of a police officer from Oologah, Okla., on May 28. Rios and Mendoza were arrested after bailing from their vehicle when their car was disabled with tire spikes south of Coffeyville.

Garcia fled the scene and is alleged to have carjacked a vehicle. He ultimately took that vehicle — and the driver who owned it — to Liberty where the vehicle stopped at the driveway of a private residence north of the All Saints Cemetery. After exiting that carjacked vehicle, Garcia got into a shootout with Michael Grimes, a member of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department. Grimes was not injured in the shooting; however, the individual who owner of the carjacked vehicle, David Henderson, sustained a bullet wound to the neck. He was taken by ambulance to a local hospital for medical treatment.

Garcia then broke into a private residence, where he was ultimately discovered hiding in a closet on the morning of May 29. The search for Garcia included dozens of law enforcement officers from multiple counties, cities and two states.

Appearing separately in front of Judge Jeff Gossard on Monday, Mendoza and and Rios were each charged with the same crimes:

• interference with law enforcement, felony obstruction of resisting arrest; and

• criminal possession of a weapon by a felon.

Greg Benefiel, a prosecuting attorney with the Montgomery County Attorney’s Office, recommended that bond against Mendoza be set at $500,000. Bond for Rios was set at $1 million based on a previous drug charge in Jackson County, Mo., and on the belief that Rios fired the weapon that injured the Oologah police officer in Oklahoma.

Rios shook his head when he heard Benefiel reveal the allegation that Rios fired the shot against the Oologah police officer.

According to court records, Rios was arrested in February 2013 in Kansas City, Mo., on two counts: possession of a controlled substance and unlawful use of drug paraphernalia.

Benefiel also said the State of Oklahoma intends to file charges against Rios and Mendoza, both of whom are from Kansas City, Mo., based on the police chase and officer shooting in Oklahoma.

Garcia, whose hometown is unknown, faces four counts, including:

• interference with law enforcement, felony obstruction of resisting arrest; and
• burglary,

• criminal damage to property, and

• attempted capital murder against a law enforcement officer.

Garcia indicated he could speak very little English, a fact that was verified by Benefiel, who spoke at the hearing on behalf of the Kansas Attorney General’s Office. Gossard said a language interpreter will be provided for Garcia in all future hearings.

Because of the severity of the crimes against Garcia, the Kansas Attorney General’s Office will be the lead prosecutor in the case against Garcia but not Rios and Mendoza. Garcia’s bond was set at $2 million. Gossard told Garcia that the “very serious charges” against him were the reason for the $2 million bond. He also told Garcia that other charges were pending in Oklahoma.

Monday’s hearings against the three individuals were brief and lasted only a matter of minutes. All three were return to Montgomery County District Court with their court-appointed attorneys on Thursday, June 25 for the first formal appearances.

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