Many in Visalia mourn the loss of a CHP officer lost in a Las Vegas carjacking

August 19, 2013 4:27:50 PM PDT
A Visalia California Highway Patrol Officer is dead and his brother-in-law has been critically injured after a carjacking in Las Vegas.

Flags were flying at half-staff at the Visalia CHP office in memory of 33-year-old Jesus Magdaleno, known as Jesse to colleagues and friends.

"Obviously it's very difficult for us to have to deal with something like this once everyone found out we all came here to the office," Officer Scott Harris with the Visalia CHP said.

Magdaleno was engaged to be married in September. He was wrapping up a bachelor party weekend at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas Sunday when Las Vegas Metro Police say the suspect, James Montgomery, got into the running Ford F-150 in the valet and took off with Magdaleno's brother-in-law, Felix Brandon Cruz, in the bed of the truck. Cruz was helping load suitcases.

Police say Jesse ran after them, eventually getting into the bed of the truck. Magdaleno and Cruz were ejected from the truck after the suspect ran a red light, colliding into an SUV and a pole.

The Visalia CHP is mourning the loss of Magdaleno who worked the graveyard shift.

"He was very easy to work with very easy going personality very well-mannered was a former Marine so he's very squared away is how we would refer to him as," Harris said.

Family members of Cruz, known by everyone as Brandon, say he has shown no brain activity. Police do not expect him to survive.

The CHP will be working with the U.S. Marines to help Magdaleno's family plan his funeral in Visalia. The suspect is facing murder, kidnapping, and auto theft charges.

"We're just praying, praying, in shock can't believe it happened to such a great guy," Rudy Rubalcaba, Felix Brandon Cruz cousin said.

Rubalcaba says Cruz is cousin is a realtor in Visalia, and that he and his wife have two children and his wife is two months pregnant with their third child.

"Brandon was a loving and caring person he puts his family first his wife and his kids were his life. Everything he did he did for them. His parents were really proud of him," Rubalcaba said.


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