Crime - Sacto 911

Trail led from Mexico to Sacramento; mystery of shooting suspect deepens

Law enforcement officers respond to an officer involved shooting at the intersection of Fair Oaks Boulevard and Van Alstine Avenue in Sacramento on Friday.
Law enforcement officers respond to an officer involved shooting at the intersection of Fair Oaks Boulevard and Van Alstine Avenue in Sacramento on Friday. Sacramento Bee

He was born in Mexico, got married in Arizona, was deported twice but appeared to be living quietly with his wife in a suburb of Salt Lake City.

Beyond that, however, little is known publicly about Luis Enrique Monroy-Bracamonte, a man with at least two aliases who mysteriously surfaced Friday morning in Sacramento. By nightfall, he had been charged, along with his wife, with touching off a nearly daylong ordeal that left two law enforcement officers dead and a motorist seriously wounded.

On Sunday, while Monroy-Bracamonte and his wife, Janelle Marquez Monroy, sat in the Sacramento County Main Jail, investigators were trying to piece together the sequence of events that brought the couple to Sacramento and prompted Monroy-Bracamante to allegedly gun down two officers.

Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones said investigators believe the main suspect was operating under multiple identities.

“We’re not convinced we have a full picture of his identity,” Jones told The Sacramento Bee. “Immigration has come up with one identity. We are not entirely convinced that is his only identity.” He said it’s possible the suspect has had troubles with the law under another name.

The man identified himself as Marcelo Marquez, 34, when he surrendered in Auburn. On Saturday, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency said his true name was Luis Enrique Monroy-Bracamonte.

Adding to the mystery are at least two Facebook accounts with matching photos of the suspect, one under Marquez’s name and another under the name Julian L. Beltran. The Beltran account lists his hometown as Sinaloa, Mexico, and includes a photo of him with the town’s name tattooed on his chest.

The sheriff said investigators don’t yet know what Monroy-Bracamonte and his wife were doing in Sacramento. Nor do they know why Monroy-Bracamonte, who was sitting in a parked car with his wife outside the Motel 6 at Arden Way and Ethan Way, allegedly began shooting when two sheriff’s deputies approached them Friday morning.

Officials said the couple were armed with an AR-15 rifle and at least two pistols. The couple allegedly led authorities on a six-hour chase that included two carjackings before their capture in Auburn.

“Nothing has been told to me yet that would explain the ‘why’ of what happened,” Jones said. “Hopefully, we will come up with the ‘why.’”

Even as they focus on the investigation, law enforcement officers from throughout the region were struggling to come to grips with the deaths of two of their own: Sacramento sheriff’s Deputy Danny Oliver, 47, and Placer County sheriff’s Detective Michael Davis Jr., 42. Oliver was gunned down in the motel parking lot, and Davis was killed hours later during a confrontation on an Auburn roadway.

“As bad as it is right now, I think the worst is yet to come,” said Dena Erwin, a friend of Davis and the public information officer for the Placer County Sheriff’s Department. “A lot of people are on autopilot right now. With the funeral still ahead of us, it’s hard to think about getting through the next week.

“It’s going to be a nightmare for a while,” she added.

Erwin said Davis’ widow and brother work for the Sheriff’s Department, and his aunt and uncle are retired from the department.

Davis didn’t have to be part of the manhunt Friday. “I sat by Mike,” Erwin said. “I watched him walk out the door on Friday. These are detectives. They don’t have to respond to 911 calls. But he didn’t hesitate.”

There was no word yet on Davis’ funeral. Jones said Oliver’s funeral will likely take place Nov. 3, and the public will be invited. But the sheriff said his deputies and other officers are focusing on their jobs and the investigation.

“They have to put that grieving aside,” Jones said. “Their day on patrol is the same as the day before.”

Monroy-Bracamonte is being held on two counts each of murder, attempted murder and carjacking. His wife was booked on counts of attempted murder and carjacking. They are due to make their initial appearances Tuesday afternoon in Sacramento Superior Court.

Janelle Monroy’s father, Mauro Marquez, told the Los Angeles Times that his daughter married Monroy-Bracamonte approximately 14 years ago in Arizona. Members of Janelle’s family didn’t attend the wedding, her father said, because they couldn’t support her marrying a man they’d never met. A few years later, the couple moved to suburban Salt Lake City.

“They wanted to be alone. They disappeared,” he said.

Eventually the Marquez family began visiting the couple in Utah at Christmas. Marquez added that he saw no evidence of guns or drugs in the house of his daughter and son-in-law.

The Facebook page for Julian Beltran suggests he was a professional house painter. His wife worked as the manager for a loan company in Salt Lake City, a friend has told The Bee.

ICE said Monroy-Bracamonte was deported to Mexico in 1997 following a drug-related conviction in Arizona. He was deported a second time, in 2001; the circumstances behind that deportation are not clear. Nor was it known when he returned to the United States.

Either Janelle Monroy or her husband had been staying at the Motel 6, said Sacramento sheriff’s spokeswoman Lisa Bowman. But it wasn’t known which of them was a guest at the motel or how long the stay had been, she said.

Oliver was a member of the Sacramento sheriff’s problem-oriented policing or POP team, a group of officers who get to know their assigned community and its residents. They spend time talking with people, including suspicious-looking people, Jones said.

An occupant of the Motel 6, Cassandra Thompson, has told The Bee that she heard someone say, “How are you?” just before multiple bursts of gunfire rang out.

Jones said such a greeting would be common for Oliver or his partner, whose identity hasn’t been released, as they approached a vehicle.

“That is a perfectly appropriate way an officer would approach someone, a suspicious car,” the sheriff said. “They would approach them very low-key. It is something that would be said by one of the officers.”

Oliver and his partner were dressed in uniform, with black mesh tactical vests with large patches that spelled out “Sheriff” in yellow and gold letters, according to Bowman.

Former Sheriff John McGinness said Oliver was devoted to his work and “absolutely loved what he did.”

He and his wife Susan, owner of a property management business, routinely donated Kings tickets and the use of a home in Hawaii to fundraisers for the California Automobile Museum, where Susan is a member of the board. “Definitely an in-charge kind of guy,” said museum Executive Director Karen McClaflin, referring to Danny Oliver.

The Sheriff’s Department has given out little information about Oliver, saying it is honoring the family’s request for privacy.

After the shooting at the Motel 6, authorities allege, the couple fled the scene and eventually committed two carjackings en route to Auburn.

One motorist who resisted surrendering his car keys, Anthony Holmes Sr., was shot in the face and was listed in fair condition Sunday at UC Davis Medical Center. A friend posted on Facebook a photo of Holmes in his hospital bed.

Also wounded Friday was a second Placer law enforcement officer, sheriff’s Deputy Jeff Davis, who was shot in the arm during the same confrontation that left Michael Davis Jr. dead. Jeff Davis was treated and released Friday at an area hospital. The two men are not related.

Call The Bee’s Tony Bizjak, (916) 321-1059.

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