- Date of Crime: 2005-05-08
- Location of crime:
- Hometown: Denver, CO
- Sex: M
- Age: 43
Victim was a part of law enforcement
- Sex: M
- Arrest Status: convicted
- Nationality: Mexico
On May 8, 2005, Denver police Officer Donald R. Young, 43, was a working a second job when he was shot three times in the back and killed by an illegal alien from Mexico, Raul Garcia-Gomez.
Young was providing security at a hall used for private functions, when he was ambushed at around 1 am. Another policeman was also shot but not seriously. Both men were off duty but in uniform.
A suspect, later identified as Raul Gomez-Garcia, approached the officers from behind and fired a barrage of shots. Detective Bishop was hit in the back but the round was slowed by his body armor. Detective Young was fatally wounded, shot twice in the back and once in the head.
Although painfully wounded, Detective Bishop attempted to pursue the fleeing suspect but was unable to locate him outside the hall.
The killer of Detective Young, was an illegal alien who had been in police custody twice before but was allowed to remain in the United States instead of being deported. 9NEWS confirmed that Garcia-Gomez has been involved in at least three traffic infractions since last October. He was pulled over once for running a red light, once for speeding and was involved in an accident. In two of those incidents he was citing for driving with out a drivers license and in the third he provided a Mexican license.
However, at the time the Denver Police Department Operations Manual makes it clear in Section 104.52, Arrest/Detention of Foreign Nationals, that police were to mostly ignore illegal immigration status in performing their duties.
The Mayor of Denver, John Hickenlooper, owns the restaurant where the accused killer worked as a dishwasher. Gómez-García used forged identification to obtain the job and the restaurant had received notification that Garcia-Gomez' Social Security number was bogus, indicating he was a most likely an illegal alien.
After the shootings, Raul Garcia-Gomez fled Denver to Los Angeles and then to Mexico, triggering a massive manhunt.
The mother of Garcia-Gomez fled to Mexico, neighbors say, raising speculation that she might have joined her son in his attempt to avoid prosecution for murder by leaving the country. Neighbors said they saw her leave with four of her other children. Ismael Goytia, a 26-year-old cousin of Garcia-Gomez, who shared the home with the alleged killer's mother, was also seen leaving with two large black duffel bags.
In 2002, the Colorado attorney general's office estimated that about one- fourth of Colorado's roughly 200 active murder warrants for fugitives involved Mexican nationals who returned to their homeland after the crimes
Garcia-Gomez was subsequently turned into Mexican authorities by his grandmother.
In 1978, the United States signed a treaty with Mexico that acknowledged Mexico's right not to extradite one of its citizens if the citizen faced the death penalty. The Mexican Supreme Court also declared it against the law to extradite a Mexican citizen facing life in prison without the possibility of parole.
While murdering a police officer is usually a capital offense in Colorado, on June 9, 2005, Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrisey announced that Gómez-García would be charged with second degree murder and first degree attempted murder. These charges posed a maximum of 32-96 years in prison. Morrisey justified the charges, stating, "It is my understanding that I would be prohibited from extraditing him if I sought first-degree murder charges in this case."[
Gómez-García was then extradicted to the United States.
In October 2006, a Denver jury convicted Gomez-Garcia of second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder. He was sentenced to 48 years in prison for Donald Young's death and 32 years in the shooting of Bishop.
Detective Young was the married father of two. He was a 12-year veteran, who had worked with the vice-narcotics and domestic violence units, and was assigned to the fugitive-bomb squad when he died. Detective Young had received numerous awards during his 12 years on the Denver police force. He was awarded the police department's medal of honor and a distinguished service cross. He also received 10 official commendations and two commendatory letters.
Documentation:10MAY05, Summit Daily News
Police identify suspect in officer’s slaying, an AP story
8MAY05, ABC7 News, Denver
Denver Police Officer Shot, Killed - Bulletproof Vest Saves Second Officer's Life
16MAY05, Rocky Mountain News
Suspect's kin vanish - Garcia-Gomez's mom, other relatives may have fled to Mexico, by Fernando Quintero
26OCT06, The Denver Post
Gomez-Garcia gets the max: 80 years, by Howard Pankratz
Officer Down Memorial
Detective Donald Young
Denver Police Department Operations Manual