California Highway Patrol Officer Jesus Magdaleno Jr., 33, died Sunday trying to stop a thief who stole his truck as he and his brother-in-law were loading luggage outside the Flamingo hotel-casino in Las Vegas after his bachelor party. He was to be married next month.
(Photo: California Highway Patrol/AP)
An off-duty California Highway Patrol officer leaving Las Vegas after his bachelor party died Sunday while trying to stop a man who stole his pickup as he and his brother-in-law loaded their luggage.
Jesus Manuel Magdaleno Jr., 33, of Visalia, was pronounced dead at the scene of injuries suffered when the suspect crashed the 2009 Ford F-150 after speeding away from the Flamingo hotel-casino with Felix Brandon Cruz in the back, the Las Vegas Sun reported.
The 31-year-old Cruz, who is married to Magdaleno's sister, was also ejected when the truck ran a red light, was struck by an SUV and then hit a traffic light pole in front of the Rio hotel-casino. He was listed Monday in extremely critical condition with head injuries at University Medical Center in Las Vegas.
James Robert Montgomery, 29, of Tustin, Calif., was booked on felony murder, kidnapping, auto theft, battery and robbery charges. He was hospitalized with unspecified injuries.
According to the arrest report, Montgomery told police he only recalled the crash and walking around the Flamingo hotel, claiming he did not remember why he was there.
The incident happened about 11 a.m. PT Sunday in the valet zone outside the Flamingo, where friends and family were celebrating Magdaleno's September wedding. The arrest report said Montgomery first spoke to a cab driver before jumping into the driver's seat of the truck, which was idling.
Magdaleno and Cruz initially thought a valet may have been moving the vehicle, but it then sped away.
A witnesses at another hotel said Magdaleno, an eight-year CHP veteran, identified himself as police, gave chase, jumped into the back and ordered the thief to stop. Both men yelled for help as the truck ran several red lights and drove over construction cones.
About a mile away, the Ford Escape SUV hit the pickup while turning on a green arrow. The three occupants were treated for minor injuries.
It was the second incident in a week involving police and hotel car thieves.
On Aug. 11, an off-duty Las Vegas police detective shot and wounded a suburban Los Angeles man accused of trying to steal a car being unloaded in outside the Excalibur hotel-casino.