A man who allegedly shot and wounded a deputy sheriff who confronted him in a parking lot near a Newhall apartment complex in 2017 once told a Los Angeles County jail custody assistant that he wanted to kill deputy sheriffs “because of what they do,” a prosecutor told a jury on Monday, May 1.
Deputy District Attorney Eric Siddall addressed a Los Angeles Superior Court jury hearing final arguments in the trial of 35-year-old Monolito Guerra, who is charged with attempted murder of a peace officer and other counts and was brought into court in a wheelchair.
“He didn’t want to go back to prison; he didn’t want to be violated for parole,” Siddall told the panel in urging that they find Guerra guilty of all charges. But defense attorney Tony McAuley, asking for a complete acquittal of Guerra, countered that the case abounds with bias and conflict of interest, in large part because the Sheriff’s Department investigated an incident that involved their own people.
“We can’t let our admiration and respect for deputies affect our job; we can’t just say we trust the system,” McAuley said, adding that there was an absence of any video images of the confrontation.
The wounded deputy, Albert White, is now a detective. Siddall used a PowerPoint presentation to display White’s bloodied uniform shirt taken as evidence after the Nov. 28, 2017, shooting. “By some miracle the bullet goes through his neck and did not sever any artery,” Siddall said.
Guerra initially complied with White’s orders, but quickly changed course, according to Siddall. “The minute he sees an opportunity to escape he takes it,” Siddall said.
Siddall’s PowerPoint display also depicted Guerra assaulting a jail custody assistant on an unspecified date while Guerra was being escorted down a hallway. Guerra told the jail employee that “he wanted to kill deputy sheriffs because of what they do,” according to Siddall.
White testified during trial that he had approached a white Ford Fusion while checking a row of parked vehicles outside the apartment complex on Bottletree Lane following a 911 call from a woman who said a man had pointed a gun at her. White said he saw a sunshade propped up in the back of the car and subsequently spotted a man on the back seat of the vehicle. He said that it was “pretty dark” at the time and that he could see the man’s eyes fluttering back and forth, but didn’t remember seeing his face.
White said he opened one of the vehicle’s back doors and ordered the suspect to freeze, and subsequently saw him tuck a revolver into his waistband. White said he raised his face to yell at other sheriff’s deputies to alert them and fixated on the weapon — not the suspect — when he saw it about five to six inches from his chin before the “gun goes bang.”
Guerra had been involved in two other gun-related confrontations — one involving the woman the same day and another involving a family who was allegedly shot at while driving in Northridge four days earlier, with a bullet nearly hitting an infant, according to Siddall.
McAuley said Guerra is “no saint as you all have heard — he’s been to prison,” but said he believed every prosecution witness who testified against his client appeared to want him convicted.
The District Attorney’s Office concluded under Jackie Lacey‘s administration in 2019 that White and three other sheriff’s deputies acted lawfully in shooting at Guerra.