Investigators think Alexander Oregon Gallardo intended to kill a Wake County sheriff’s deputy Sunday night when he fired a gunshot that pierced the windshield on the driver’s side of the officer’s patrol car.
Wake County sheriff's deputies said Gallardo, 18, fired shots at them during a stolen-car chase that ended when the car crashed near Lake Woodard and Terminal drives in Raleigh.
Four people in the car ran after the crash, according to the sheriff’s office. The other three were quickly arrested, but Gallardo remained at large until Monday afternoon.
Gallardo, who state officials say goes by the nickname “Shadow,” was charged with attempted murder of Wake County Deputy Unberto A. Espinoza, possession of a stolen vehicle and being a parole absconder, said sheriff’s spokesman Capt. James Stevens.
The deputy’s cruiser, a 2012 Dodge Charger, was on display late Monday in front of the Wake County Public Safety Center in downtown Raleigh. Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said the path the bullet took indicated the gunshot was not random.
“It came in through the windshield first and hit a radar device mounted on the dash,” Harrison said.
The black, cylindrical device is about the size of an adult’s fist and mounted near the patrol car’s steering wheel about level with the driver’s heart.
“That’s what stopped the projectile,” Harrison said.
The shots were fired about 8:45 p.m. after Espinoza had spotted the stolen car and was trying to stop it, Stevens said.
Harrison said the car was reported stolen more than a week ago in Cary.
When the car crashed, deputies arrested Carlos Eduardo Argueta-Diaz, 16, of 4650 Ravi Road in Raleigh and charged him with fleeing to elude arrest and possession of a stolen vehicle.
Stevens said two minors also were arrested on unspecified charges. Their names and ages were not released.
Gallardo was found about 2:15 p.m. Monday in a vehicle that was stopped by sheriff’s deputies on Rock Quarry Road just north of Interstate 40, according to the sheriff’s office. He was arrested without incident.
Alerts to law enforcement agencies across the area urged them to consider Gallardo armed and dangerous, and Harrison said no one in the public should try to stop him. Harrison credited Raleigh police and the U.S. Marshals Service with helping to find Gallardo.
Gallardo got out of prison in June, according to state records. State Department of Correction officials considered him an absconder from post-release supervision since August.
His last listed address was 2008 West Millbrook Road in Raleigh.
Gallardo had been convicted in February 2013 of several counts of felony breaking and entering, served a brief sentence and was paroled. In September 2013, he was convicted of felony larceny and felony breaking and entering and returned to prison.
“He had served his sentence,” Keith Acree, a prison spokesman said when asked why Gallardo was not still behind bars. “It was not a discretionary release.”
Gallardo had nearly a half dozen infractions while in prison. On Jan. 22, he was found guilty of being an active rioter, assault with a weapon and involvement with a gang, Acree said.
On Dec. 18, prison authorities found Gallardo guilty of a “high risk act,” which according to the disciplinary manual is committing or inciting others to commit acts that spread or may spread communicable diseases, or possessing any instruments capable of spreading communicable diseases, such as “tattooing instruments and needles.”
Acree said he could not speak directly about Gallardo’s involvement with a gang or the significance of the triangle-shaped tattoos under his eyes.
“But you can see what appears in the infractions,” he said.