Man in country illegally arrested after hitting, killing Pinellas County deputy and fleeing scene & More Latest News

For the second time in lower than two years, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office is mourning the lack of a deputy.

Late Thursday night time, Deputy Mike Hartwick was offering safety at a development web site alongside I-275 when hit and killed by a person driving a entrance loader, who then fled the scene, in keeping with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

Hartwick’s dashcam video reveals him getting out of his cruiser and strolling over to the shoulder of the street. About a minute later, the video reveals a development truck passing southbound and then a entrance loader passes by at about 20 miles an hour. 

The video reveals it passing by the entrance of Deputy Hartwick’s automobile and a white pickup truck was behind it escorting it. Then the white pickup truck abruptly stops as a result of the entrance loader had hit and killed Deputy Hartwick. 

The operator of the entrance loader saved going, in keeping with PCSO.  

Juan Ariel Molina-Salles, aka Victor Vasquez-Real, is accused of hitting and killing a Pinellas County deputy in a construction site

Juan Ariel Molina-Salles, aka Victor Vasquez-Real, is accused of hitting and killing a Pinellas County deputy in a development web site. Mugshot by way of Pinellas Sheriff’s Office

Deputies say the driving force of the entrance loader finally pulled it over and advised one other development employee that he had simply killed a deputy. 

He then took off his development hat and his visitors vest. He handed the objects to a different development employee, later recognized as Elieser Aurelio Gomez-Zelaya, and advised him to cover them and eliminate them. 

The suspect then fled northbound on foot.

A nine-hour manhunt throughout Pinellas County and Tampa ensued. The search concerned all of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office K9s, three helicopters, Pasco County bloodhounds and tons of of regulation enforcement officers.

One of the K9s discovered the vest and the helmet, which the opposite development employee dumped in the woods. A bloodhound that was given the scent on the objects was capable of monitor down the suspect. 

Originally, the suspect advised regulation enforcement officers his identify was Victor Vasquez-Real. He stated that he was 35 years previous and from Puerto Rico. However, Gualtieri says that was a bunch of nonsense.

Deputies with the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office mourn the loss of fellow deputy Michael Hartwick,

Deputies with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office mourn the lack of fellow deputy Michael Hartwick, (Courtesy Aaron Mesmer)

His actual identify, in keeping with Gualtieri, is Juan Ariel Molina-Salles. He is 32 years previous and Gualtieri says he entered the country illegally on October 25, 2021, in Eagle Pass Texas. He was rotated by border patrol and despatched again to Mexico. Gualtieri says there is no such thing as a report of him getting into the United States legally.

Gualtieri says there have been a whole lot of development employees on-site and nearly all of them lied to deputies and hindered the investigation by offering false names and data.

According to the PCSO, all the development employees had been employed by Archer Western, a contractor doing work for the Florida Department of Transportation out of Tampa.

“This company is employing a bunch of illegals and they are all out there lying and giving us fake names, fake IDs, a lot of fake IDs out of North Carolina that really frustrated this investigation. This guy that we have in custody is here illegally and he fled, as he said, because he became afraid after he killed the deputy. He clearly knew he killed the deputy because when he was hunkered down out there last night he had a cell phone on. We had some ways of tracking what he was doing with his cell phone and he actually called his roommate in Tampa who is another guy who is here illegally. He came over and tried to pick him up. He saw all of the law enforcement activity and called him back and said, ‘I’m not getting involved in this’, and turned around and went back to Tampa.”

He added, “You got a bunch of illegals working for this state contractor out there. They shouldn’t be here and they shouldn’t be working and they shouldn’t be out here doing this. This guy was going, I think too fast, for this thing. Again, he knew he hit a deputy and as opposed to stopping, rendering aid, and accepting responsibility for what he did, we had to chase him around and sift through all this nonsense with all these people lying and providing fake IDs and we spent nine hours out there chasing this thing down.”

According to Gualtieri, Molina-Salles advised the development firm he did development in Honduras so that they introduced him on board. Gualtieri added that Molina-Salles gave the corporate a pretend ID card. 

“He didn’t have a driver’s license. He’s got nothing. He shouldn’t have been here to begin with and he shouldn’t have been driving. He shouldn’t have been working…He has no qualifications to drive a front loader,” he defined.

“This is not victimless,” Gualrieri stated.  “We’ve got a dead deputy. We got a guy who shouldn’t be here. He shouldn’t have been driving that thing. He shouldn’t have fled. He shouldn’t have done any of this and companies are out there doing that. Why are they doing it? Of course, that is a rhetorical question and I’ll answer it. They’re doing it because they are making money off of it. So, are they making money now off of a dead deputy? Is it worth it? Really?”  

According to Gualtieri, native regulation enforcement has no jurisdiction to implement immigration.

“I can’t put them in jail,” he acknowledged. “I can’t do anything with them at all. The most I can do is what you can do –pick up the phone and call ICE and say you’ve got a guy who’s here illegally.”

Gualtieri says he has acquired a detainer on Molina-Salles, which implies if he’s launched in some unspecified time in the future in time, PCSO wouldn’t launch him due to it. Then ICE would choose him up. 

Molina-Salles is going through expenses of leaving the scene of an accident involving dying. It’s a first-degree felony with a four-year minimal necessary in state jail.

Gomez-Zelaya, who additionally lied about his identification, has been charged with accent after the actual fact.  

“It’s just sad,” the sheriff acknowledged. “It really is…I look at this like, really, this is two times in 18 months now. We go 109 years without a line of duty death and now you go two in 19 months, but it’s the nature of the business…we got the bad guys in custody where they belong and that’s out of respect for Mike.”

In February 2021, Pinellas County Deputy Michael Magli was killed by an accused drunk driver who plowed into him whereas he was making an attempt to cease the suspect. Magli was the primary deputy in Pinellas County to be killed in the road of responsibility. 

Deputy Hartwick served as a Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Deputy for 19 years, assigned to the Patrol Operations Bureau. He is survived by his mom and two grownup youngsters. 


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