U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said Thursday that the suspect who was fatally shot after he tried to kill a Napa County sheriff's deputy Sunday night had been deported from the U.S. three times since 2007.
Javier Hernandez-Morales, 43, fired a .22 revolver at Deputy Riley Jarecki as she stood by the driver's window of Hernandez-Morales' Honda sedan that was parked on a rural road in Napa County southwest of Napa around 11 p.m.
Jarecki was not hit and she ran to the other side of the Honda and shot her weapon 15 times into the vehicle. Hernandez-Morales died at the scene. The deadly confrontation was recorded on Jarecki's body camera.
According to the Napa County Sheriff's Office, Hernandez-Morales intended to kill the deputy, who is now on administrative leave.
In its statement, ICE said it issued detainers four separate times for Hernandez-Morales after his arrests for DUI, battery on a peace officer, selling liquor to a minor and probation violations. None of the four detainers were honored by the Napa and Sonoma county jails.
ICE officials said detainers were issued to the Napa County Jail in 2014, 2015 and 2016, as well as in 2016 to the Sonoma County Jail.
According to ICE, the confrontation may have been prevented if it was notified about Hernandez-Morales' release from custody over the past few years. Morales was removed from the U.S. twice in 2007 and once in 2010.
"ICE is grateful the deputy involved in this shooting was nor harmed during this attack. It's unfortunate that our law enforcement partners and the community are subjected to dangerous consequences because of inflexible state laws that protect criminal aliens," the agency said.
Napa County officials said Thursday that a change in the California law means every city in the state is doing something differently than they were years ago.
"Our policy back then was to corporate with ICE and give a courtesy call that provides the time and date at which we would release," said Supervisor Ryan Gregory.
Now, every city in the state has to follow SB 54, which limits information between immigration and law enforcement officials. Something Republican Spokesperson Harmett Dhillon said is a problem.
"The problem with SB 54 is it elevates the rights of people who are breaking our laws, of citizens, legal residents and even illegal aliens," he said.
Though Hernandez-Morales was arrested in 2010, he was turned over to ICE on an immigration hold but that was before SB 54 was in effect.
Napa County officials said the deadly shooting was unfortunate but they were just following the law.
"We have to continue to learn from these unfortunate incidents once we get all the facts it’s going to lead us to really understand the facts more and then make a decision if state law needs to be changed," said Supervisor Alfredo Pedroza.
Sheriff's Capt. Oscar Ortiz said Thursday there was a loaded .22-caliber rifle in the backseat of the Honda in addition to the pistol.
Hernandez-Morales worked as a farm laborer in the area and he had prior arrests for DUI, resisting arrest and possession of a firearm. There was a warrant for his arrest at the time of the shooting, Ortiz said.
Jarecki was sworn in as a deputy in June 2018.