WILLMAR -- Four men are expected to appear today on criminal charges stemming from a Wednesday evening home invasion that escalated into the firing of multiple shots at a Willmar police officer.
Leroy Diaz Evans, 26, Adrian Salinas, 19, Arcadio Salinas, 23, all of Willmar, and Jesus Trevino, 33, of Arizona, are being held in the Kandiyohi County Jail awaiting their appearances in Kandiyohi County District Court.
According to Willmar Police Chief David Wyffels, the police investigation continued Thursday with officers reviewing video footage and receiving information from eyewitnesses to the incident along the 800 block of Second Street Southeast.
The officer driving the squad car that was struck by a bullet and another responding officer captured two of the four men very soon after they began running away. A third man was quickly captured nearby by other responding officers, and the fourth man was located inside the vehicle in which the four men had been traveling.
That quick response gained praise from Wyffels, who has been chief of the department for just eight weeks. "I'm very proud of my officers today," he said. "But the best thing is that no officer got hurt and no citizen got hurt."
According to the police department, officers were called around 4:40 p.m. Wednesday to a home along the 800 block of Second Street Southeast. A person reported that two Hispanic males had entered the home brandishing handguns apparently looking for someone. Both suspects left just prior to police arrival.
Police were called back to the same location around 6:50 p.m. on a report that the suspects were back and this time they were wearing masks. An occupant of the home had been struck on the side of the head with the butt of a handgun.
An officer arriving at the scene spotted one person running from the home toward a car parked in a nearby lot. As the officer was pulling into the lot, multiple shots were fired at the officer. Three additional suspects were in the car.
Three men fled on foot while their vehicle was moving across the parking lot. The bullets struck the squad car, an occupied home in the neighborhood and a nearby stop sign.
Officers did not return fire on the men but gave chase on foot.
Three handguns -- a semi-automatic 9mm pistol, a .45-caliber pistol and a .44-caliber revolver -- were recovered from the men.
The victim of the assault at the residence was taken to Rice Memorial Hospital for medical attention. No officers were hurt. One of the suspects was taken to Rice Hospital to check a medical complaint before he was taken to the jail.
Diaz Evans is no stranger to the law. He was sentenced in September 2005 to 39 months in prison for shooting a man during a domestic incident in May 2004 in Granite Falls.
He was also convicted for his involvement in the stabbing murder of Nathan Hoseck, a 22-year-old Cottonwood man in 2002. He received a two-year stayed sentence after he pleaded guilty to third-degree assault and second-degree riot. Diaz Evans' brother, Joshua Diaz, is serving 16½ years for his involvement in the stabbing death of Hoseck.