By Jariah Moore
MODESTO, CA – Two men faced charges here in a preliminary hearing in Stanislaus County Superior Court late last week for attempted murder of two undercover California Highway Patrol officers in December 2021 who were attempting to place a tracking device on an accused’s car.
As a result of the hearing, at least one accused will be arraigned on Feb. 17 and will face trial. A second accused’s information has not been updated online.
Turlock Police Detective Brandon Bertram testified CHP Investigators Oscar Fautt and Anthony Palazuelos were walking toward a residence with the goal of putting a GPS tracking device on a man’s car.
The car had been located earlier that same day, and a search had been written for the tracker to be placed on the vehicle, the detective said.
During cross-examination, conducted by Defense Attorney Hans Hjertonsson, the detective described Palazuelos as “wearing plain clothes” during the incident. Both Palazuelos and Oscar Fautt were wearing jeans and hoodies at the time of the encounter.
Police Detective Betram also agreed with the defense that Officer Palazuelos was “trying to fit into the neighborhood” by not wearing a marked uniform.
According to the defense, Officer Palazuelos prepared to place the GPS tracker underneath the car while Office Fautt stood watch during this time. The subject then exited the house and found the two officers near his vehicle.
Police Detective Bertram describes the time span between the officers placing the GPS tracker on his car and the accused confronting them to be “about 10 seconds or less.” The accused allegedly opened fire on the officers and shot Officer Palazuelos.
Upon being asked by Defense Attorney Hjertonsson if the officers had made their association with the police clear at the time, Police Detective Bertram responded, “No, they weren’t. They were just trying to run.”
Only after the officers had taken cover behind two vehicles and drew their pistols did they announce they were law enforcement, the detective testified.
A second man had been alone in the house during this time. He did not leave his residence until he heard noise from outside of his house, at which point he came outside from the back door and arrived on the scene.
According to the testimony, Officer Fautt shot back “at least one time” in the second man’ direction.
After firing a second shot, Police Detective Bertram said the second accused “turns and runs to the west…and as he’s running, um, westbound, he throws or casts away a handgun that’s in his hand, and the laser light that’s fixed to the handgun is illuminated when he does so.”
Both Officer Palazuelos and one of the accused sustained gunshot wounds from the incident.