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Diaz Evans pleads not guilty in shooting

Diaz Evans

WILLMAR -- Leroy Diaz Evans pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a first-degree attempted murder charge for allegedly shooting at a Willmar police officer in September. He also requested a speedy jury trial.

The five-day trial for Diaz Evans, 26, of Willmar, will likely be in January in Kandiyohi County District Court. During the hearing Wednesday, Judge Kathryn N. Smith asked the attorneys to set aside the last week of the month and said that the dates would be confirmed by court staff. The case is being prosecuted by First Assistant County Attorney Connie Crowell. Diaz Evans is represented by public defender Brad Kluver.

Smith also ordered that Diaz Evans submit a DNA sample, which is also being requested from his three alleged accomplices. According to motions filed by the prosecution, the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has identified DNA evidence on several pieces of evidence submitted to the state agency for analysis.

In addition to the first-degree attempted murder of a peace officer charge, Diaz Evans faces five first-degree burglary charges. He appeared at the hearing in county jail clothing and is being held on $1.5 million bail.

Jesus Trevino, 33, of Willmar, also faces the same six charges as Diaz Evans. Arcadio Salinas Jr., 23, and Adrian Salinas, 20, both of Willmar, both face one charge of aiding and abetting first-degree murder of a peace officer.

Trevino's next court date is Jan. 13. Arcadio Salinas' next court appearance is Jan. 24 and Adrian Salinas' next appearance has not been set.

All four men face the possibility of life in prison if convicted of first-degree attempted murder of a peace officer or aiding and abetting first-degree attempted murder.

The charges were filed after a Sept. 16 incident, in which Willmar police were called around 4:40 p.m. to the 800 block of Second Street Southeast on a report that two Hispanic males had appeared at a residence with guns. Several people there reported that two men had come looking for a man, demanded money, pointed their guns at them and then left.

A witness identified the men as Evans and Trevino.

Officers were dispatched to the same address around 6:50 p.m. regarding the same intruders inside the residence with guns. One of the officers pulled his vehicle into the back parking lot of the Subway restaurant and the second officer pulled his vehicle over along Second Street.

Gunshots rang out, with a bullet striking the headlight of the squad car in the parking lot.

The officer ducked down, but noted the color of the shirt of the person sitting in a parked vehicle and firing on him. The shots also struck a stop sign and a nearby home. Two of the three bullets entered the interior of the home, but no one was hurt.

The two officers gave chase as the suspects ran from the parked vehicle. Trevino was apprehended attempting to climb over a nearby fence. Evans was located walking across Second Street.

Witnesses to the second home invasion reported that three men entered their home displaying guns and demanding money. The men were wearing masks, with one of them hitting a man in the head several times with a gun.

The witnesses recognized Evans from his voice and stature and Trevino from the first intrusion.

They said the gunmen ran away when they saw the responding police squad car and then the witnesses heard multiple gunshots.

The investigation also revealed surveillance footage of the parking lot.

Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

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