MODESTO (CBS13) — Family members of the victims in Saturday’s pursuit crash are now calling for Modesto police to rethink their policy on pursuits.
CBS13 sat down with the Modesto Police Chief to talk about what happens when his officers get behind the wheel for a dangerous pursuit.
Once the two suspects, Antonio Gazo and Rodney Quiros, pulled a gun on Modesto police and fired early Saturday morning, everything changed, according to Police Chief Galen Carroll.
“We were not going to let them go,” Carroll said.
Carroll said each department across the state has its own policy with handling car chases, and each chase is different.
Carroll said every pursuit is dangerous because officers don’t have control.
“The policies are there to mitigate that danger if at all possible,” Carroll said.
On Saturday, the chase ended in tragedy. At 100 miles per hour, the car was run off the road, hitting and killing two fathers, 31-year-old Pedro Gil and 32-year-old Melchor Leyva.
“They took two lives, those gentlemen killed two people, and destroyed two families,” said one of the victim’s sisters, Sandra Gil.
Family members point to police throwing “spikes” near the suspect’s car as to why it could’ve forced it off the road, and into their loved ones.
“One officer said, “I’m throwing the spikes!” Another officer says, “Don’t throw the spikes!” What kind of decision is that?” Gil said.
Pedro Gil’s sister is talking about an audio recording of the pursuit. It says, “Do not spike if he’s shooting, do not spike!”
In it, you hear the officers debate whether to throw the spike strips before the suspects turn off the road. It’s something Chief Carroll says slows down the pursuing vehicle.
“I don’t know if the spikes had anything to do with why he turned or not, that will still be something that we will be investigating as we move forward,” Carroll said.
Chief Carroll acknowledged and mourns the loss of life in his community, but said he wouldn’t change how his team handled this situation.
“We did everything we could, to be as safe as we possibly could for situations like that,” he said.
The investigation is still ongoing. The department will look into how they handled this case in training moving forward.