Man pleads not guilty to killing Salinas police officer

SALINAS – The man accused of shooting a Salinas policeman during a traffic stop last weekend has pleaded not guilty to murder.

Gustavo Matías Morales was charged Tuesday with manslaughter with a special circumstance for killing a police officer, the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office said.

DA office officials say he could face the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.

Salinas Police Officer Jorge David Alvarado was killed during a shooting which exploded after he stopped a car late Friday.

Morales was arrested when he was presented at Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital with a bullet wound.

“JD gave his life for you”:Salinas prayer vigil held in honor of Officer Jorge David Alvarado

Investigators did not specify what the traffic violation was or what caused the shooting.

Alvarado’s death was the first by a police officer to fulfill his duty in nearly 80 years in Salinas, Mayor Kimbley Craig said.

He was a five-year veteran of the Police Department who previously served in the United States Army and was sent to Afghanistan, officials said. Alvarado, 30, would soon marry his fiancée.

Morales is scheduled to return to court on March 22, KION-TV reported.

The hearing took place before a vigil in Salinas in honor of Alvarado, whose death hit the community hard.

“We had some really tough days here in Salinas,” Craig said. “Our officers are in mourning and I would notice that our community is starting to accept our public safety departments. I just want to thank you for that.”

“Brother, hero, friend”:Outpouring of support for assassinated Salinas officer Jorge David Alvarado

Community members display flags at a prayer vigil by assassinated officer Jorge David Alvarado in Salinas City Hall, California.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Man pleads not guilty to killing Salinas police officer Source link Man pleads not guilty to killing Salinas police officer

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