OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) — A Vallejo woman was shot in the head and still clinging to life when she was dumped onto the side of a road in a bag.
Details of a horrifying 2020 homicide were released in a report from the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office on Thursday as prosecutors announced that no charges will be filed against the police officers who killed the woman’s suspected killer.
Prosecutors said Oakland and Richmond police officers used “reasonable force” when they shot 24-year-old Juan Carlos Ayon Barraza in Richmond, just seconds after Barraza had seriously injured another officer.
The slain woman’s name was not released at the request of her family.
The woman’s family reported her as missing to Vallejo police on the morning of April 16, 2020. She was last seen with Barraza. When her family member confronted Barraza to ask about her whereabouts, he replied that “something bad” happened to her, got into his vehicle, and fled, according to the district attorney’s Law Enforcement Involved Fatal Incident report.
Barraza and two “associates” drove around for hours looking for a place to hide a body, according to the report.
Later that day, at 6:45 p.m., a bicyclist was riding in a wilderness area of the Oakland Hills on Pinehurst Road when the cyclist saw a sedan blocking the roadway and a white van parked ahead of it. As the cyclist passed by the two vehicles, the cyclist saw a man “dumping what appeared to be a woman’s body off the edge of the roadway,” prosecutors wrote.
The 29-year-old woman was suffering from a gunshot wound in her head, but still alive, according to the report.
The cyclist called 911 and gave police a description of the vehicles and suspects.
Multiple responding Oakland police officers found Barraza driving the van out of the wilderness area and into the City of Oakland. A chase ensued through city streets, onto Interstate-580, up Interstate-80, and ending in Richmond. A sheriff’s helicopter also joined the pursuit by providing air surveillance.
“During the freeway pursuit, Barraza twice waved a firearm at officers. Once in Richmond, Barraza rammed his van into a patrol car at South 37th Street near Carlson Boulevard. One officer was hit by the van, and the other was trapped in the patrol car. Police fired on Barraza multiple times as Barraza drove his van into another police vehicle, causing severe injuries to one officer,” prosecutors wrote.
A Richmond police officer saw the melee happening between Barraza and the Oakland officers, including one officer who was “launched” into the air from the impact of the van, according to the report.
The Richmond officer fired two rounds at the back of Barraza’s van and the van finally stopped, the report states. By this time, Barraza was suffering from fatal gunshot wounds inside the van. He was declared dead at the scene.
The Contra Costa County coroner conducted an autopsy and pathologist Dr. Ikechi Ogan concluded that Barraza died from gunshot wounds to his head and chest. Ogan also noted that Barraza’s blood contained benzoylecgonine, which is a product of cocaine.
The woman was found, transported to a hospital, and died weeks later from her injuries.
Barraza had a violent criminal history. He was arrested in 2018 on charges of child cruelty with injury, assault with a deadly weapon, domestic violence, and false imprisonment.
Prosecutors said, based off all the circumstances of the incident and the district attorney’s investigation, the Oakland and Richmond police officers involved would not be charged with any wrongdoing.
“In a legal analysis of the case, the District Attorney’s Office applied the applicable laws and the
California District Attorney’s Uniform Crime Charging Standards to review the evidence of the
incident. The concluding opinion determined the use of deadly force by the peace officers
against Juan Barraza was reasonable based on the totality of the circumstances. As such, the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office will take no further action in this case,” the District Attorney’s Office wrote Thursday.