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Old May 25, 2006, 10:43 AM   #7
Harley Quinn
Junior member
Join Date: August 30, 2005
Location: State of KALI
Posts: 1,531
Here is an eye wit to the whole thing.

More of this bazzare story.

Hallie Boatright, 18, right, weeps Wednesday while recalling the incident at Natomas Marketplace on Monday in which her friend, Eugene Gallegos, 19, was shot by a Sacramento police officer who was on the hood of the car they were riding in. With her are James Perez, Gallegos' cousin, and Michelle Andrade, Gallegos' mother.
Sacramento Bee/Randy Pench

Hallie Boatright dived down in the back seat, threw her arms over her head and closed her eyes as the car careened in a Wal-Mart parking lot. When she looked up, there was a Sacramento police officer clinging to the hood, firing his weapon through the windshield.
"'Let's go! Let's go. Let's go!" Boatright said she heard one of the passengers yell from the back seat to the driver, over the sound of shattering glass and gunfire.

The Chrysler then crashed into a palm tree near the entrance of Natomas Marketplace on Monday, marking the end of a frenetic police shooting in which the 19-year-old driver, Eugene Gallegos, was killed and the beginning of questions that continued Wednesday from Boatright and members of Gallegos' family.

Boatright, 18, who was released from police custody early Tuesday and has not been charged, said she was simply offered a ride Monday from Gallegos, whom she knew as "Chitho" and had met the night before through friends.
Boatright retold the chronology of events surrounding the shooting during an impromptu press conference at the south Sacramento home of Gallegos' aunt, where relatives also questioned the officer's actions.

Sacramento Police Sgt. Chris Taylor could not comment on each detail of Boatright's account of her car ride with three others. He said police and district attorney's officials are sorting through the facts of the case in part of an investigation into the officer-involved shooting.

"If it was my son, I could not imagine how I would be thinking or reacting," he said.

Also Wednesday, another passenger, Saul Rabago, 19, was arraigned in Sacramento Superior Court on felony charges of robbery and receiving stolen property in connection with the robbery of a teenage boy at Truxel and San Juan roads minutes before the incident at the shopping center.

Rabago remained in the Main Jail without bail.

Jose Angel Gallardo III, 16, is expected to face similar charges when he is arraigned today. The Bee is naming him because he is being prosecuted as an adult.

Gallardo remained hospitalized at UC Davis Medical Center on Wednesday. He had been shot in the left wrist, according to his aunt and legal guardian, Mary Lou Valdez.

On Monday morning, Boat- right did not know what would unfold when she got into Gallegos' car. She said she was hoping to pick up her 3-year-old son at her mother's house, about a 15-minute drive from her North Highlands apartment. But someone inside Gallegos' car wanted to take a trip to the Wal-Mart in Natomas Marketplace.

Inside the car, Boatright said, she recognized Rabago, who was in the front passenger seat; Gallardo was in the back, seated behind Gallegos.

The carload of friends stopped for gas and picked up burgers at McDonald's on Northgate Boulevard, parked and ate in the car.

When they resumed their trip to Wal-Mart, Boatright said, Gallardo spotted the teenager at a bus stop and prodded Gallegos to "check out this kid and see what he has."

Gallegos turned around the car and parked. Gallardo got out, grabbed a replica "toy gun," Boatright said, adding that she chastised him, saying what he was about to do was "stupid." Then, she said, Rabago followed.

After they returned to the car, Gallardo told Gallegos that they should stop at a school or a store. Boatright said she told them she just wanted to go home.

They continued toward Wal-Mart on Truxel Road and drove past a police patrol car near the entrance and parked a few yards from another cruiser in front of the store.

Officer Kevin Howland's car, Boatright said, parked near Gallegos' Chrysler.

" 'You guys robbed anybody?'" Boatright said Howland asked them, before asking if there were any weapons in the car.

From the back seat, Boatright said, Gallardo began telling Gallegos to get them out of there.

" 'Let's go. Let's go. Let's go. Let's go,' "Boatright recalled Gallardo saying.

Gallegos paused: "Should I?"

"I said, 'No,'" Boatright said. "I thought they were kidding at first."

Then, she said, the car went in reverse, striking the rear passenger side of Howland's parked patrol car.

The impact, police said, moved the cruiser a few feet across the parking lot.

She then saw the officer position himself near his car, his gun drawn.

"We were trying to avoid hitting the cop, which is why we hit the cop car," Boatright said. "Nobody said to hit the cop."

All of a sudden, Howland was on the hood, and Boatright said she could not explain how he got there, as she hunkered down and closed her eyes when the car was hit with gunshots.

Gallegos' relatives on Wednesday said they believed the officer hopped onto the car, and they could not understand why he had to fire eight rounds through the windshield.

Taylor said the driver tried to kill the officer.

"Kevin is alive because he had the presence of mind to respond," Taylor said. "He would have been sandwiched between that car and the squad car."

Boatright said the police officer then disappeared from view as the car careened out of the parking lot.

" 'Let's go. Let's go. Let's go,'" Boatman said Gallardo yelled.

"'I'm trying,'" Gallegos apparently said just before the car rammed into the palm tree.

"They could have killed me; I have a 3-year-old son at home," Boatright said Wednesday, sobbing. "All I wanted to do was get home and see my son."

The Coronor's Office ruled that Gallegos' cause of death was gunshot wounds to the chest and right arm.

After hours of questioning at the Sacramento police headquarters, Boatright was given a cab voucher and told she was free to go shortly after 1 a.m. Tuesday.

"I said, thank God," Boatright said.

On Wednesday, Valdez said she was trying to see Gallardo but had not had the chance to speak with him.

She said Gallardo was released three weeks ago from Boys Ranch, a Sacramento County facility for repeat juvenile offenders.

Valdez said she last saw her nephew Friday and asked Gallegos, who lived next door, to find him and bring him home.

She had no reservations about Gallardo's fate.

"What he did was wrong; let him pay the price," Valdez said. "I just want to tell him, 'I'm physically and mentally there for you, and I love you."

On Wednesday, members of the Gallegos family went to look at caskets before attending an evening candlelight vigil at Natomas Marketplace.

Saul Rabago, 19, was arraigned in a Sacramento court on felony counts of robbery and receiving stolen property in connection with the robbery of a teen at Truxel and San Juan roads before Monday's incident.
Sacramento Bee/Michael A. Jones

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