Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Reyes Hopes $95,000 Reward Will Help In Slain Deputy Case

Councilmember Ed P. Reyes today announced a $75,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the persons involved in the fatal shooting of Sheriff’s Deputy Juan Abel Escalante, 27, in the Cypress Park community. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has added an additional $20,000 for a total reward up to $95,000.

“We need to make a statement as a community, here in Cypress Park, that this horrendous crime cannot go on any further. We need to reach closure, we need that person arrested and it can only happen with your help,” Reyes said at the press conference, held at the corner of Aragon Avenue and Thorpe Street, near where the shooting occurred. “Please help us out. Yes, there is $75,000, but do it because it is the right thing to do.”

Reyes was joined by Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, Los Angeles Police Department Deputy Chief Charlie Beck and family members of the victim, including his wife Celeste Escalante, who delivered a tearful plea for help.

“Please call the hotline. Even if you just heard the shots, I heard them. If I could have run out there five minutes before, I would have, but I couldn’t and I know someone saw. I know someone heard,” said Escalante, with her three children by her side, at the press conference. “If you could just let them [LAPD] know. The littlest thing, the smallest thing will help…at least we can know the person who did this can be brought to justice.”

Escalante was fatally shot on August 2, 2008 at 5:40 a.m. as he left his boyhood Cypress Park home near the 3400 block of Thorpe Street, according to the LAPD. The off-duty deputy was on his way to work at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Men’s Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles. As he stood by his car, the shooter gunned down Escalante from a vehicle, said LAPD authorities.
Escalante is survived by his wife, Celeste, and three children: Alexander, 10, Marissa, 8, and Julian, who just turned three years old in September.

Anyone with information about this murder is asked to call LAPD Detectives Thomas Mathew or Steven Eguchi at (213) 485-2531. After hours or on weekends, calls may be directed to a 24-hour, toll-free number at 1-877-LAPD-24-7 or by texting CRIMES (274637) and beginning the message with the letters LAPD. Tipsters may also submit information on the LAPD website, All tips may remain anonymous.