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2 plead in police shooting case

WILLMAR -- Two of the three suspects involved in a home burglary last fall where responding Willmar police officers encountered gunfire entered pleas Friday in District Court in Willmar.

Arcadio Salinas Jr., 23, of Willmar, offered an Alford plea to a charge of aiding and abetting an attempted robbery in the first degree during a Kandiyohi County District Court appearance in the morning. An Alford plea is recorded as a guilty plea.

Jesus Trevino, 33, of Willmar, formerly of Gilbert, Ariz., pleaded guilty to first-degree burglary, with assault on person in a building, during a District Court appearance in the afternoon.

Charges of attempted first-degree murder of a police officer were dismissed against both defendants. Also, five other burglary charges were dismissed against Trevino.

The plea agreements make it apparent that prosecutors believe the third defendant in the case, Leroy Diaz Evans, 26, of Willmar, is alone responsible for firing shots from a Malibu as police arrived. One bullet struck the headlight of a squad car and three others penetrated a nearby home. The officer in the struck squad car said he believed that the gun fire was directed at him, according to the complaints filed in the cases.

Trevino testified that he wore a disguise and carried a .357-caliber handgun on Sept. 15 when he entered a residence on the 800 block of Second Street Southeast. He was intending to rob a man living in an apartment there, he told the court. He admitted striking the man with the handle of the gun.

In entering an Alford plea, Salinas does not admit to the facts of the crime but agrees there is sufficient evidence for a jury to conclude that he knew what was going on as he waited in the car for Trevino and Evans.

Sentencing is scheduled March 7 for Salinas and March 28 for Trevino. Both have prior criminal histories and both are expected to serve prison time for their offenses.

Both remain in custody.

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

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