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New trial date set in El Paso police officer's manslaughter case

Aaron Martinez, El Paso Times Published 2:32 p.m. MT March 1, 2019 CLOSE A knife-wielding robber who held up two convenience stores in El Paso’s Mission Valley on Feb. 18-19, 2019, is the target of the Crime of the Week. Courtesy Crime Stoppers of El Paso, El Paso TimesA new trial date has been set…

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Aaron Martinez, El Paso Times
Published 2:32 p.m. MT March 1, 2019

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A knife-wielding robber who held up two convenience stores in El Paso’s Mission Valley on Feb. 18-19, 2019, is the target of the Crime of the Week.
Courtesy Crime Stoppers of El Paso, El Paso Times

A new trial date has been set for an El Paso police officer charged with manslaughter after his first trial abruptly ended in a mistrial.

El Paso Police Department Officer Mando Kenneth Gomez is set to go to trial again May 17 in connection with the April 29, 2015, death of Erik Emmanuel Salas Sanchez at his home in the 300 block of Jesuit Drive.

Although, a federal civil lawsuit filed by Salas Sanchez’s family is set to begin that same week, according to court records.

District nor federal court records state if a hearing will be held to postpone one of the trials.

Gomez had been on trial for three days last month, but it abruptly ended after state prosecutor George Havlovic suffered an unknown medical emergency Feb. 22 as defense lawyer cross-examined a witness.

More: Case of El Paso cop who fatally shot man: Prosecutor falls ill and causes mistrial

Havlovic was sitting in the courtroom when defense lawyer Jeep Darnell, who was in the middle of questioning a witness, noticed that Havlovic was having a medical issue. Darnell then called for medical attention.

The courtroom was emptied as medical staff began treating Havlovic.

According to El Paso County District Attorney’s Office, Havlovic is recovering from the medical issue. No information has been released on what type emergency was suffered by Havlovic during the trial.

The trial, which began Feb. 20, was declared a mistrial Feb. 25 by 120th District Court with Judge Maria Salas-Mendoza, who was presiding over the case.

Gomez is facing one count of manslaughter in connection with the on-duty shooting of Salas Sanchez.

The fatal shooting occurred after Salas Sanchez illegally entered a neighbor’s home.

The neighbor called police to report the incident, but testified in the trial that she never asked for Salas Sanchez  to be prosecuted. She added that she only asked officers to tell Salas Sanchez  to never come back to her home.

More: Emotional first day in trial of El Paso police officer accused of shooting and killing man

Salas Sanchez never threatened the neighbor or her family, according to testimony.

Gomez, along with officers Pamela Smith and Alberto Rivera, responded to the scene and went to Salas Sanchez’s home to question him about the incident.

The officers claimed – both in court documents and testimony – that Salas Sanchez made threats against the officers and then charged at them with a metal object.

As Salas Sanchez allegedly charged at the officers, Gomez fired his handgun and fatally struck Salas Sanchez.

The officers’ claim that Salas Sanchez charged at them was seemingly contradicted by an autopsy report released by the El Paso County Medical Examiner’s Office.

The autopsy report stated that Salas Sanchez was shot twice in the back and once in the buttock.

If convicted, Gomez is facing up to 20 years in prison. No criminal charges have been filed against Smith or Rivera.

Gomez, Smith and Rivera, along with the City of El Paso, are being sued in federal court by Salas Sanchez’s parents, Celia Sanchez and Oscar Salas.

More: El Paso man shot by police in 2015 posed an imminent threat, officer at the scene says

The monetary amount being sought by the family is not stated in court documents.

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Aaron Martinez may be reached at 546-6249; aamartinez@elpasotimes.com; @AMartinez31 on Twitter.

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Dona Ana

Car accident kills three, including an El Paso man, Sunday in New Mexico

Sun-News report Published 9:00 a.m. MT March 26, 2019 | Updated 9:01 a.m. MT March 26, 2019CLOSE Do you know what to do if you’re in an accident? WochitHIDALGO COUNTY — A fiery crash along Interstate 10 in western New Mexico claimed three lives, including an El Paso man.New Mexico State Police responded to the fatal…

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Published 9:00 a.m. MT March 26, 2019 | Updated 9:01 a.m. MT March 26, 2019

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Do you know what to do if you’re in an accident?
Wochit

HIDALGO COUNTY — A fiery crash along Interstate 10 in western New Mexico claimed three lives, including an El Paso man.

New Mexico State Police responded to the fatal head-on collision at mile marker 19, near Lordsburg, about 3:30 p.m. Sunday, March 24.

Police said a 2015 Freightliner semi-truck was traveling east on Interstate 10, when, for unknown reasons, it crossed the center median and hit a west-bound 2013 Kenworth semi-truck head on. The Freightliner’s trailer hit a 1999 Dodge pickup that was also traveling west. Both semi-trucks caught on fire.

Three people died in the crash: Sean White, 50, of West Covina, California, was the driver of the Freightliner; Jose Apodaca, 47, of El Paso, was the driver of the Kenworth; and Susan Rojo, 47, of Sierra Vista, Arizona, was a passenger in the Dodge.

A 51-year-old male driving the Dodge and a 13-year-old female passenger in the pickup, both believed to be from Arizona, were transported to an area hospital with critical injuries.

Alcohol is not believed to have been a factor and seat belt use has not been determined. Police are continuing to investigate.

More: A train hit a pedestrian in an El Paso crash Tuesday morning

More: Car accident kills 11-year-old boy Sunday in East El Paso

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Beto campaign manager was aide to Barack Obama in 2012, signals shift in O'Rourke strategy

John C Moritz, El Paso Times Published 6:03 p.m. MT March 25, 2019 | Updated 7:37 a.m. MT March 26, 2019CLOSE Linguist Roberto Perezdiaz sheds light on the pronunciation and mispronunciation of the nickname ‘Beto.’ Mark R Lambie, El Paso TimesThe move signals the former El Paso congressman is willing to invest in top political…

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John C Moritz, El Paso Times
Published 6:03 p.m. MT March 25, 2019 | Updated 7:37 a.m. MT March 26, 2019

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Linguist Roberto Perezdiaz sheds light on the pronunciation and mispronunciation of the nickname ‘Beto.’
Mark R Lambie, El Paso Times

The move signals the former El Paso congressman is willing to invest in top political talent as he seeks to emerge from a crowded field of Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination.

A former top strategist for Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election effort is joining Texan Beto O’Rourke as a campaign manager for his 2020 presidential bid.

The addition of Jen O’Malley Dillon gives O’Rourke a seasoned, high-level operative as he attempts to distinguish himself in a crowded field of candidates seeking to challenge President Donald Trump next year.

“We’re exited that Jen O’Malley Dillon has joined our team,” O’Rourke said Monday in text message forwarded by his campaign. “Her leadership and creativity will be a great addition to a campaign that is already doing so much to bring people together to overcome the greatest set of challenges this country has ever faced.”

I’m so excited to join the @betoorourke team and get to work building a campaign that will lift people up and unite them to meet our challenges, and that will show up everywhere and listen to & value every voice.

— Jen O’Malley Dillon (@jomalleydillon) March 25, 2019

O’Malley Dillon was Obama’s deputy campaign manager. She said in a series of tweets that as a mother of two she wants to make a better world for her children. Her hiring was first reported by the New York Times.

“I’m so excited to join the @betoorourke team and get to work building a campaign that will lift people up and unite them to meet our challenges, and that will show up everywhere and listen to & value every voice,” she said in one of the tweets.

MORE: Beto O’Rourke campaign announces location for El Paso rally

She added, “and not gonna lie, pretty excited for our kids to get a chance to live in El Paso, where” her husband grew up.

Her husband, Patrick Dillon, was the deputy director of political affairs and special assistant to Obama.

O’Malley Dillon is a co-founder of the political communications firm, Precision Strategies, which worked for Obama in 2012 and also represents the John F. Kennedy Library and Foundation, according to its website.

Brandon Rottinghaus, a political science professor at the University of Houston, said the hiring of O’Malley Dillon is a signal O’Rourke recognizes that he cannot run his presidential bid with the same seat-of-the pants style that became a trademark in his narrow loss to U.S.Sen. Ted Cruz in Texas last year.

“Getting someone who knows what it takes to win, especially an old Obama hand, is huge,” Rottinghaus said. “Going from a U.S. Senate campaign to a presidential campaign is like going from the minor leagues to the major leagues. This says Beto knows he needs top talent.”

MORE: Beto fundraising record: $6.1 million from donors is an ‘important number’ for O’Rourke

O’Rourke, a former three-term congressman, gave up a safe Democratic seat representing El Paso to challenge Cruz. He entered the presidential race March 14 and immediately hit the road to campaign in Iowa, New Hampshire and other early primary and caucus states on next year’s political calendar.

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Days after saying he would join the presidential race, O’Rourke said he had raised $6.1 million in the first 24 hours after his formal announcement — the biggest first-day haul of any of the announced Democrats. He edged Bernie Sanders’ $5.9 million, raised from 223,000 individual donors. The O’Rourke campaign said later that it received 128,000 unique contributions.

O’Rourke plans what he’s calling a “launch” on Saturday with a morning rally in El Paso to be followed by two more home-state rallies — one in Houston that afternoon and a nighttime event in Austin, a block from the Texas Capitol.

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A train hit a pedestrian in an El Paso crash Tuesday morning

Aaron Martinez, El Paso Times Published 7:32 a.m. MT March 26, 2019 CLOSE If you know the man who on March 12 walked into the Walgreens at the Fountains at Farah and stole more than $600, you could earn a reward. Courtesy Crime Stoppers of El Paso, El Paso TimesA pedestrian was struck by a…

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Aaron Martinez, El Paso Times
Published 7:32 a.m. MT March 26, 2019

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If you know the man who on March 12 walked into the Walgreens at the Fountains at Farah and stole more than $600, you could earn a reward.
Courtesy Crime Stoppers of El Paso, El Paso Times

A pedestrian was struck by a train early Tuesday morning in the Upper Valley, officials said.

The incident happened at Spur 16 and Doniphan Drive near Canutillo High School, El Paso Police Department officials said.

The pedestrian’s current condition and name were not released.

The El Paso Police Department’s Special Traffic Investigations unit is investigating the accident.

No further information has been released.

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Aaron Martinez may be reached at 546-6249; aamartinez@elpasotimes.com; @AMartinez31 on Twitter.

Read or Share this story: https://www.elpasotimes.com/story/news/crime/2019/03/26/train-hit-pedestrian-el-paso-crash-tuesday-morning/3275396002/

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