Police arrested a juvenile hall detention officer Sunday on suspicion of shooting another man during an argument at a Covina bar last month.
Detectives arrested Michael Sanchez, 53, of Ontario on suspicion of attempted murder shortly after 3 p.m. when he showed up for work at Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall in Downey, according to Covina police and Los Angeles County booking records. Sanchez works as a Senior Detention Services Officer for the Los Angeles County Probation Department.
Sanchez is accused of shooting a 34-year-old man during a dispute Aug. 26 at Katie Jakes Bar & Grill, 750 S. Terrado Plaza, Covina police Sgt. Ray Marquez said.
Investigators obtained clear images of a man and woman believed to be involved in the shooting from a surveillance camera, the sergeant said. Unable to identify the potential suspects, police released the images to the public Wednesday.
“After the images were released, Covina detectives were provided information that identified both the female and male,” Covina police officials said in a written statement. “Detectives quickly ruled out the female as being involved in the crime; however continued focusing on the male.”
Probation officials and investigators from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office Justice System Integrity Division assisted Covina police in the investigation once detectives realized the suspect was a juvenile hall detention officer.
Probation officials also helped Covina police take Sanchez into custody safely, authorities said.
“In this particular case, the allegations involve an off-duty probation officer. But let me be
clear; when one of our employees is suspected of being involved in criminal activity we will take swift and appropriate action,” Chief Probation Officer Jerry Powers said.
The shooting took place just after the men became involved in an argument and both were escorted from the bar by security, investigators said.
The wounded man was struck in the upper torso and has since been released from the hospital, police said Sunday. He was expected to recover from his injury.
Sanchez was immediately placed on administrative leave at the time of his arrest, and his “county-assigned equipment” was taken away, according to the police statement. It was not immediately clear if that equipment included a gun.
According to county booking records, Sanchez was being held in lieu of $1 million bail at the Inmate Reception Center in Los Angeles. Information on his initial court appearance was not available late Sunday.
PHOTOS: Top – booking photo of Michael Sanchez; below – surveillance photo of shooting suspect. Courtesy of the Covina Police Department.