A jury of eight women and four men are set to decide the fate of Monolito Guerra, a gang member accused of shooting at a family and then shooting a Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station deputy in a separate incident four days later.
Closing arguments were made Monday in Downtown Los Angeles, where Guerra’s trial was held to accommodate his wheelchair.
In his opening argument, Deputy District Attorney Eric Siddall said Guerra was a fugitive felon hiding in the backseat of a car he had broken into, and his motivation in the shooting of Deputy Albert White was to escape justice.
In his opening, Public Defender Tony McAuley alleged that the night Guerra was shot in the parking lot of the apartment complex on Bottletree Lane, White should have called for backup instead of engaging in a shootout. Ballistics reports from the prosecution from the ensuing shootout don’t prove Guerra ever fired directly at any of the deputies who responded to the Nov. 28, 2017, incident, McAuley said.
White suffered a through-and-through wound when he was struck by a bullet in the neck as the result of the shooting. Since the incident, he’s fully recovered and was promoted from patrol deputy to detective last summer.
Guerra remains injured from the incident and appeared to have a bit of a breakdown during the first day of testimony in the trial, when White walked the jury through the night of the shootout.
An independent investigation from the D.A.’s office released in 2019 reported that the deputies who fired were justified in their actions.
Siddall also presented evidence from ballistics reports that linked a gun investigators said Guerra used to fire at a family in Northridge during a road-rage incident four days prior to the Newhall shootout.
Jury selection began April 17, and opening statements and White’s testimony started April 20.
Guerra is facing 14 counts, all felonies, in connection with events investigators say took place over two days in 2017. He’s charged with four counts of attempted murder, five counts of assault with a firearm, one count of shooting at an inhabited dwelling, battery on a peace officer, felony weapon possession, resisting an officer and domestic violence.
The jury’s deliberations are expected to continue Tuesday.