By Carlos Padilla
As initially reported in the Wednesday, Sept. 24 edition of The Herald (Vol. 86, No. 11), 28-year-old John Baquera of Truth or Consequences was arrested on Monday, Sept. 22, and charged with multiple criminal counts after Truth or Consequences Police Department (TCPD) officials responded to a report of a residential burglary Monday afternoon.
In a criminal complaint filed in Sierra County Magistrate Court by TCPD Detective James Harrington, charges filed against Baquera include a fourth-degree felony count of being a felon in possession of a firearm, a fourth-degree felony count of tampering with evidence, a criminal count of obstructing a police officer, and a criminal count of possession of drug paraphernalia.
On Monday afternoon, TCPD Sgt. Ted Ontiveros responded to a residence in the 800-block of North Pershing St., where a homeowner confronted a young Hispanic male on the property. When the man – later identified as Baquera – saw the homeowner, he ran southbound through the alley. The suspect was described as wearing a white shirt, dark pants, and a baseball cap.
Moments later, the homeowner realized that a firearm was stolen from his home.
Detectives Harrington and George Lee were driving in the area a few hours later and noticed a man matching the description of the burglary suspect walking northbound on North Date Street near Sixth Street. When Baquera saw the detectives, he changed direction and fled from the detectives westbound through a trailer park.
Harrington pursued Baquera on foot, yelling several times for the suspect to stop, and identifying himself as police.
Baquera reportedly looked back at Detective Harrington several times to see if he was still being pursued. Baquera hurdled a block wall and continued running southbound through a heavily-vegetated creek bed while Detective Harrington continued to pursue him on the other side of the block wall.
At Fifth Street west of Date, Detective Harrington closed distance on Baquera and ordered the man to stop running. Baquera finally complied.
When Baquera was taken into custody, he had a hypodermic syringe in his hand. The syringe contained a clear brown liquid. In addition, Baquera was in possession of a homemade stun gun, a black LG cell phone and a metal spoon. Along the path Baquera ran through the creek bed, officials located a HighPoint 9 mm firearm with a round chambered, and a HighPoint 9 mm magazine full of ammunition. The serial number on the firearm was reportedly tampered with, making it hard for officials to read. The firearm, however, did not match the description of the firearm reported stolen from the 9800-block of North Pershing Street.
Because Baquera was convicted of a felony in 2012, the Seventh Judicial District Attorney’s Office informed Detective Harrington that charges of felon in possession were appropriate.
Baquera was transported to the Sierra County Detention Center, where he is presently incarcerated and beingheld on a $20,000 cash bond.