Trial underway for man charged with shooting at Porterville Police officer

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Convicted felon Ruben Carreles is charged with attempted murder of a peace officer for shooting Porterville Police Officer Armando Perez. (KFSN)

Cameras weren't allowed inside the Tulare County Courthouse in Porterville on Wednesday, as the trial began for 31-year-old Ruben Carreles.

The convicted felon is charged with attempted murder of a peace officer for shooting Porterville Police Officer Armando Perez on the night of August 18, 2016.

Perez was 21 at the time; he had just been hired in January of that year.

Previously, he was a police explorer with the department.

"He's a homegrown kid, and he's grown up with us," Porterville Police Chief Eric Kroutil said. "And we absolutely support him."

Kroutil was in court Wednesday as his officer took the witness stand.

That night, Perez told jurors he pulled over a car on Olive Avenue.

But he said the passenger, Carreles, got out and ran.

Perez ran after him, shouting to stop.

As he closed in, Perez said Carreles looked over his shoulder twice, and then shot at him.

Perez said he saw the muzzle flash, and as he turned, was hit in the rear.

Perez returned fire, took cover, and continued to shoot at Carreles until he was no longer a threat.

His partner also fired several shots at the suspect.

Carreles and Perez were both brought to Kaweah Delta Medical Center.

Perez said a doctor told him the bullet came within a quarter inch of an artery (Judge Antonio Reyes later told jurors to ignore that testimony, after an objection by Carreles' lawyer).

"Our officer came close to losing his life over this deal, and this person needs to be held to answer for it," Kroutil said.

If convicted, Carreles faces 44 years to life in prison.

The driver of the car, Vickie Monethichack, was also charged and is due back in court next month.

Perez is still working patrol for Porterville Police, and the chief says he's performing exceptionally well.

"It didn't slow him down a bit," Kroutil said. "He went right back to work. He was nervous the first couple of traffic stops that he made because this (shooting) was as a result of a traffic stop."
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crimepolice officer shotpolice officer injuredtulare countyPorterville
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