Press Releases

Attempted Murder

Release Date/Time: 11/15/2020 12:18 AM
Incident: Attempted Murder
Date: Saturday, 11/14/2020
Time: 08:41 PM
Location: 200 Block of Rianda Street

Release Authorized by: Cmdr. Lalo Villegas
Telephone: 831-758-7250

On November 14, 2020, at 8:41 PM, we received a ShotSpotter activation of 5 gunshots coming from the rear of a business in the 200 block of Rianda Street.  As officers were responding to the shooting scene, two gunshot victims arrived at the front of the police station and entered the vestibule area.  The adult victims each sustained gunshot wounds and were transported to a local hospital for treatment. A few minutes after the two victims arrived at the police station, a third adult victim arrived at a local hospital with gunshot wounds.  All three victims are in critical but stable condition.

Anyone with information is asked to call Detective John McNeil at (831)758-7277 or email at [email protected]

Or call the Salinas Police Department at (831) 758-7321. If you would like to remain anonymous, you can call the Salinas Police Department Tip Line at (831) 775-4222.

Californians Encouraged to Buckle Up on Every Trip

Release Date/Time: 11/12/2020 12:39 PM
Incident:Californians Encouraged to Buckle Up on Every Trip
Date: Monday,11/16/2020 to Sunday, 11-29-2020
Location:City of Salinas

 Nov. 16-29 is Click it or Ticket Seat Belt Enforcement Campaign

Throughout the month of November, the Salinas Police Department is joining agencies across the country promoting the importance of wearing a seat belt in the car and keeping children safe by making sure they are properly restrained.

This year's Click it or Ticket seat belt enforcement campaign is from Nov. 16-29. During this time, the Salinas Police Department will have additional officers on patrol looking for drivers and passengers who are not wearing a seat belt. This includes drivers who do not properly secure children in child safety seats.

While the seat belt use rate in California was 96% last year, there has been a noted drop in seat belt use by back seat passengers. A recent report by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) found only 76% of rear seat passengers wore seat belts.

'Wearing a seat belt is your best defense on the road,” Salinas Police Department, Public Information Officer, Miguel Cabrera said. 'It only takes a few seconds and helps keep you and your family safe.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), seat belts saved nearly 15,000 lives of people ages five and older in 2017.

The fine for a seat belt violation is $162. California law requires a child be properly secured in a safety seat in the second row of a vehicle, when available, until they are at least 8 years of age. Children under the age of 2 must ride rear-facing or until they reach 40 pounds or 40 inches in height. 

California has a primary seat belt law, which allows law enforcement officers to ticket someone for not wearing a seat belt without committing another traffic violation

Release Authorized by:Miguel Cabrera

Attempted Murder

Release Date/Time: 11/11/2020 10:31 PM
Incident: Attempted Murder
Date: Wednesday, 11/11/2020
Time: 8:00 PM
Location: 1200 Block of Bellehaven

Salinas Police Officers responded to the above location on a ShotSpotter activation of multiple gunshots being fired. When officers arrived they located two Hispanic male victims that sustained multiple gunshot wounds. Both were transported to a local area hospital for treatment.  The two victims were standing outside a residence when a 4-door sedan drove up and fired multiple rounds at them.  The victims sustained critical injuries but are listed in stable condition. 

Anyone with information related to the shooting is encouraged to call the Salinas Police Department at 831-758-7226.  If you would like to remain anonymous, you can call the Salinas Police Department Crime Tip Line at 831-775-4222. 


Release Authorized by: Commander Lalo Villegas
Telephone: 831 758-7250

Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Computer Forensic Vehicle Has Arrived

Release Date/Time: 11/4/2020 11:07 AM
Incident:Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Computer Forensic Vehicle Has Arrived
Date: Thursday, 11/5/2020
Time: 11:00 AM
Location:312 E. Alisal St.

The Salinas Police Department is excited to announce the City of Salinas has received our new Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Computer Forensic Vehicle. The Salinas Police Department was awarded a $200,000 grant to purchase the mobile computer forensic vehicle as part of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC). The Silicon Valley (San Jose PD) ICAC (Internet Crimes Against Children) Task Force Program is a task force organized under the National ICAC Task Force. The program is currently composed of 61 regional Task Force agencies and is funded by the United States Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

ICAC helps state and local law enforcement agencies develop an effective response to technology-facilitated child sexual exploitation and Internet crimes against children. This help encompasses forensic and investigative components, training and technical assistance, victim services, and community education.

The ICAC program was developed in response to the increasing number of children and teenagers using the Internet and other technology, the proliferation of child sexual abuse images available electronically, and the heightened online activity by predators seeking unsupervised contact with potential underage victims. Salinas Police and ICAC member organizations understand that arrests alone cannot resolve the problem of technology-facilitated child sexual exploitation and recognizing this the ICAC program is also dedicated to training law enforcement officers and prosecutors, as well as educating parents and youth about the potential dangers of online activity.

The Mobile Forensic Vehicle was designed and built to Salinas Police specifications. The vehicle has various computer forensic tools and an interview room with audio/visual recording capabilities. The total purchase price of the vehicle with equipment and installation was $200,000. The vehicle is a multi-disciplined tool available for all SPD field operations and is available as a regional asset.  

This grant reflects the continuing commitment of the Salinas Police Department to work in partnership with our community and with local, state, and federal collaborators to prevent crime, improve service to crime victims and their families, and our entire community.

The ICAC Vehicle and Detective Sergeants will be available for media presentation on Thursday 11-5-2020 at 11 am at the Police Service of Salinas Headquarters 312. E. Alisal St.

Release Authorized by:Miguel Cabrera

Salinas Police Department Awarded Grant for Bicycle, Pedestrian Safety Education

Release Date/Time: 10/30/2020 3:09 PM
Incident:Salinas Police Department Awarded Grant for Bicycle, Pedestrian Safety Education 
Date: Friday, 10/30/2020
Time: 3:09 PM
Location:City of salinas

Salinas Police Department received a $100,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) that focuses on the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians

'Our goal is that education will change poor behaviors and make our roads safer,” OTS Director Barbara Rooney said. 'This funding will help ensure the safety of those out biking or walking.”

Grant funds will be used for a variety of activities promoting bicyclist and pedestrian safety:

  • Education workshops geared toward youth and older adults.
  • Education on the importance of safety equipment that improves visibility such as reflective armbands, bicycle headlights and taillights.
  • Community walks and bicycle safety courses.
  • Bicycle helmet inspections.
  • Distribution of bicycle helmets to those in need following education presentations.

The grant program runs from Oct. 1, 2020 to Sept. 30, 2021.

Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Release Authorized by:Miguel Cabrera

Halloween Celebration

Release Date/Time: 10/26/2020 1:40 PM
Incident:Halloween Celebration
Date: Friday, 10/30/2020
Time: 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Location:312 E. Alisal St

Join us for a safe Halloween Celebration for the children and families of Salinas, to be held at the Police Service Headquarters located at 312 E. Alisal St. This community event will take place on Friday, October 30, 2020 from 4-6 pm.

There will be costume contests for scariest costume, best police officer costume and most creative costume. In addition, there is a drawing contest with the theme 'Design a Superhero Costume for your Police Officers”. Your entry must be emailed to  [email protected] and include name, age and phone #. This contest is limited to participants 17 and under.

There will also be a vehicle decorating contest. This contest requires registration at:

There will be treat bags for all children who attend. Remember to wear your mask and social distance.

Halloween photos will be taken of the participating children and contest winners will be announced online. Photographs of all costumed children will also be available to download.

This is strictly a drive thru event- no walk ups please. Entry to the event will be off of Work Street from John Street only.

Once arriving at the event, cars will be given directions to a drop off point for participating costumed children. Children will receive their treat bags, judged on their costume and have their photo taken. When finished the children will wait at a designated pickup area for their parent.

This event is hosted in partnership with, and sponsorship by, the Salinas Police Foundation, Salinas Police Officers Association, Police Advisory Committee and Salinas PAL

Release Authorized by:Miguel Cabrera
Telephone:831 758-7289

Attempted Murder

Release Date/Time: 10/26/2020 11:45 PM
Incident: Attempted Murder
Date: Monday, 10/26/2020
Time: 3:53 PM
Location: Cesar Chavez Park (N. Madeira Ave.)

Officers responded to a call of two men seen hitting another man with a crowbar at Cesar Chavez Park on N. Madeira Street. Officers located the 52-year-old victim laying on the ground unresponsive. The victim was taken to a nearby hospital with life-threatening injuries. Evidence led to a nearby apartment on the 100 block of N. Madeira Avenue where officers saw a possible suspect. The apartment was surrounded and a 4-hour standoff ensued. The SWAT Team responded, made entry, and located two suspects: Rafael Gonzalez (23) located in the garage, and Ivan Casias Munoz (30) located hiding in the attic. Both were arrested and booked into Monterey County Jail for attempted murder.

Anyone with information please call Det. Justin Heckman at (831)758-7323or email at [email protected]

Or call the Salinas Police Department at (831) 758-7321. If you would like to remain anonymous, you can call the Salinas Police Department Tip Line at (831) 775-4222.

Release Authorized by: Cmdr. John C. Murray
Telephone: (831) 758-7350

Federal Indictmend: Additional Information Including Victim Names.

Release Date/Time: 10/23/2020 1:46 PM
Incident: Federal Indictmend: Additional Information Including Victim Names.
Time: 1:46 PM

Federal Indictment: Additional information including victim names.

  • Date:     January 12, 2017
  • Time:    2104
  • Location:  Sunrise St.
  • Double Homicide, Double Attempted Homicide
  • Indicted Suspects: Siaki Tavale, Andrew Alvarado, Mark Garcia
  • Victims: Jose Luis Flores-Vargas, Alejandro Ramirez, (2) additional victims
  • Number of Shots Fired: 25
  • Short narrative: ShotSpotter activated on Sunrise. Officers arrived in less than one minute and encountered 4 victims with gunshot wounds; 2 dead and 2 with bullet wounds to their legs and a chaotic scene. Upon arrival, officers were flagged down by a homeowner who provided a description of the suspect vehicle; a Nissan van. Officers broadcast the information and 5 seconds later an officer, who was eastbound Boronda Rd. responding to the shooting, observed a possible suspect vehicle. The officer turned and followed the vehicle. He continued following the vehicle to 2073 Santa Rita when the driver sped up and crashed into the front gate. All occupants fled. CHP and MCSO responded and assisted with a large perimeter. But the suspect made their escape through the large apartment.


  • Date:     February 11, 2017
  • Time:     00:25
  • Location: Fremont St
  • Homicide, Attempted Homicide
  • Indicted Suspects: Siaki Tavale, Andrew Alvarado
  • Victims: John Rodzach, (1) additional victim
  • Number of Shots Fired: 18
  • Short narrative: ShotSpotter reported shots in the area of Hebbron Heights. Officers found the victim, John Rodzach (39), with multiple gunshot wounds in front of the Hebbron Heights Center. Rodzach was a known gang member and had many contacts with SPD. Several casings were recovered at the scene. 


  • Date:     February 12, 2017
  • Time:     00:21
  • Location: Orchard Ave.
  • Double Attempted Homicide
  • Indicted Suspects: Siaki Tavale, Andrew Alvarado, Anelu Tavale
  • Victims: 2
  • Number of Shots Fired: 21
  • Short narrative: ShotSpotter reported shots fired in the area of Orchard Avenue. Dispatch then updated there were several victims of a shooting. Officers responded and on arrival observed a crowd of 50+ hysterical people at the scene. Victim 1 and Victim 2 were found with multiple gunshot wounds. According to witnesses', Victim 1 and Victim 2 had just driven into the driveway when a white Lexus SUV stopped on the street.  Four suspects exited the Lexus (which was Stolen) and began firing at the victims while they were still inside their vehicle. The victims put their vehicle in reverse striking the front neighbors front yard pillar. The victims then put their vehicle in drive and rammed the Lexus, disabling it. Unable to drive away, the suspects exited the Lexus and fled on foot.
  • Date:     March 25, 2017
  • Time:     23:07
  • Location: Dennis Ave.
  • Double Homicide
  • Indicted Suspects: Andrew Alvarado, John Magat, Mark Garcia
  • Victims: Fidencio Vega, Rutilio Vega (4/5/17)
  • Number of Shots Fired: 32
  • Short narrative: On Saturday, March 25, 2017, at approximately 11:07 PM, we received a ShotSpotter activation stating there were gunshots fired in the 200 block of Dennis Ave. A short time later, the reports of shots fired started to come into dispatch from residents in the area. As officers arrived, they were advised of a victim of a shooting at a residence. When the officers arrived, they found a 31-year-old male, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. In the backyard of the same residence, officers found a 33-year-old male victim also suffering from gunshot wounds. Salinas Fire and American Medical Response (AMR) arrived and pronounced victim 1 deceased. They ultimately transported the second victim to Natividad Medical Center with life-threatening injuries. It appears the victims, were in the driveway of the residence drinking beer when two suspects confronted them. It is unknown if anything was said prior to the suspects pulling out guns and opening fire. Victim 2 was able to run into the backyard even though he had suffered multiple gunshot wounds. Both victims lived in Salinas and have no gang contacts. Both were said to work in the fields. The suspects fled on foot and may have gotten into a vehicle near the intersection of Dennis Ave. and Miami St. The only description of the suspects was two males dressed in dark clothing.  Although the victims are not associated with any gangs, this shooting is indicative of being committed by gang members, therefore considered as gang related.
  • Date:     May 13, 2017 
  • Time:     22:48
  • Location: Paloma Ave.
  • Homicide
  • Indicted Suspects: Andrew Alvarado, John Magat
  • Victims: Gabriel Rangel
  • Number of Shots Fired: 16
  • Short narrative: On May 13, 2017, at approximately 10:47pm, officers responded to the report of a victim of a shooting. The caller said they had heard about five gunshots about 15 minutes prior but did not look outside to investigate. When they did go outside, they found the 23-year-old victim laying on the porch at the front door. He had been shot several times in his upper body. He was pronounced dead at the scene.  The investigation has revealed the victim was at an address on Paloma to visit a family member. The victim walked out of the house to use his phone and was confronted by at least two suspects. For unknown reasons, the suspects fired several rounds, striking the victim and the residence. The suspects may have fled in a white, smaller SUV. They were last seen southbound on Tampa St.  The victim does not have any history of being involved in gangs with the Salinas Police Department, but this case is being investigated as gang related.
  • Date:     June 11, 2018
  • Time:     00:48
  • Location: Center St.
  • Homicide
  • Indicted Suspects: John Magat, Anthony Valdez, Anelu Tavale
  • Victims: Javier Santos
  • Number of Shots Fired: 19
  • Short narrative: ShotSpotter detected gunshots in the area of Center St. There were no callers and when officers arrived, they found Javier Santos suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. He was transported to NMC where he died. He was heard by neighbors on the phone prior to the shooting. Several gunshots were heard, and neighbors went outside. They saw two cars leaving the area very close together and at a high rate of speed. Vehicles were last seen S/B on N. Filice St. There were multiple shooters, maybe up to three. Several casings were recovered at the scene. 
  • Date:     November 3, 2018
  • Time:     01:29
  • Location:  North Hebbron Ave
  • Homicide
  • Indicted Suspects:  Anthony Valdez, Anelu Tavale
  • Victims: Felix Francisco
  • Number of Shots Fired: 35
  • Short narrative: Officers responded to the area of N. Hebbron for a ShotSpotter activation.  Officers arrived and saw numerous casings in the street and an HMA lying in the driveway of 63 N. Hebbron. He had multiple gunshot wounds and was pronounced deceased at the scene.  Several casings were located at the scene. 



Release Authorized by: Cmdr. John C. Murray
Telephone: (831) 758-7350

Police Service of Salinas Name

Release Date/Time: 10/20/2020 10:38 AM
Incident: Police Service of Salinas Name
Date: Tuesday, 10/20/2020
Time: 10:38 AM
Location: 312 E. Alisal Street

What's in a name?

A recent newspaper article referred to the new police building three times as the 'Police Services Building”. This is incorrect. We thought some clarity might help. The proper name, as displayed on the building's marque, is 'Police Service of Salinas”. It is a small distinction, but an important one: 'services” describes the particular work performed by one who serves; 'service” denotes the occupation or function of serving. The name, the order in which it is written, and the small distinction of service is intentional. Service is the sine qua non of policing, and its placement in the name is an affirmation of this to our community. Similar language can be seen at other police organizations to include the Toronto Police Service in Canada, the Queensland Police Service in Australia, and most notably, the Police Service of Northern Ireland. Language has meaning, and its proper use in the public discourse is important.

Release Authorized by: Cmdr. John C. Murray
Telephone: (831) 758-7350

Homicide Victim Identifed

Release Date/Time: 10/9/2020 2:55 PM
Incident: Homicide Victim Identified
Date: Friday, 10/9/2020
Time: 2:55 PM
Location: 1180 South Main Street

On 10/07/20, at approximately, 1955 hours a shooting occurred in the Lucky Grocery Store parking lot at 1180 S. Main Street.

Samuel Mendoza (26) fired several shots striking a 26-year-old man in the leg and killing 22-year-old Rafael Jose Pineda.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call Detective Gabriela Contreras at (831) 758-7971 or email her at [email protected]

Call the Salinas Police Department at (831) 758-7321. If you would like to remain anonymous, you can call the Salinas Police Department Tip Line at (831) 775-4222.

Release Authorized by: Cmdr. John C. Murray
Telephone: (831) 758-7350


Question of the Day

What can I do if there is a loud party in my neighborhood?

If someone is having a loud party in your neighborhood you may call the Police Department for assistance. When deciding whether to call the police you must also decide whether the noise is at a level that your peace is being disturbed. If it is, you next need to decide whether you would be willing to press formal charges in order to get the noise to stop or be turned down to a tolerable level.

Most often, the mere fact that you are willing to press charges will help us to solve the problem so that no actual charges need be pressed. If you...

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