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June 20, 2018
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Domestic violence case leads to vehicle pursuit

By: Katherine Minkiewicz
June 8, 2018

Last week a late evening domestic violence call lead to an erratic vehicle pursuit near Rohnert Park Expressway and Commerce Boulevard where the suspect — who has a lengthy criminal record, attempted suicide by cop and was eventually taken into custody by Rohnert Park Police and charged with several counts of criminal threats. 

Last Monday the Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety dispatch received a worried call from an RP resident saying her husband, 37-year-old Juan Hernandez, was threatening to drive to her home and kill her following a verbal argument the two had over the phone.

According to a Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety press release officers made contact with the victim shortly after dispatch received the call. Responding officers were told by the victim that there had been several prior domestic violence incidents.

Later that night around 11:24 p.m. officers near Rohnert Park Expressway and Commerce Boulevard spotted the truck the victim said the suspect would be driving.

Officers put on their emergency lights and attempted to stop the vehicle; however, the suspect continued on towards the victims’ home. 

The suspect reportedly opened the truck’s driver side door and sat with a “black” gun, which was later identified as an airsoft pistol.

“Officers drew their guns and yelled for the suspect to drop the gun. After multiple attempts to tell the suspect to drop the gun, he threw it outside of the truck and sped away at a high rate of speed,” according to the press release.

Acting Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety Sergeant Adam Strongman, said while they do not know the exact speed the suspect was going they do know that it was largely over the speed limit. 

“It (the speed) is hard to tell, but they were going fast enough to make audible tire sound,” Strongman said.

The suspect allegedly continued to drive through the area, ignoring stop signs and traffic lights. They reportedly then drove back to the victim’s home where the suspect got out of the truck brandishing a large knife, yelling at the officers to shoot him.

To get control of the suspect an officer deployed their Taser and was able to take Hernandez into custody where he was later booked into the Sonoma County Jail for domestic violence, criminal threats, threatening a peace officer, evading police and for a DUI.

“For domestic disturbances it does happen frequently and not just in Rohnert Park,” Strongman said when asked if the city sees a lot of domestic violence related calls.

There are services throughout Sonoma County, such as the YWCA, a county organization with various different services to help people who may be dealing with domestic violence.

“One in four families, locally and nationally will be affected by domestic violence,” explained Madeleine Keegan O’Connell, chief executive officer of YWCA.

YWCA offers a 24/7 crisis hotline (707-546-1234) that is available 365 days a year. O’Connell emphasized that the hotline isn’t just for individuals who may be experiencing domestic violence. Community members, or friends or family who may be worried about a loved one are also welcome to call.

They also offer a confidentially located safe house and referrals for support care such as housing, childcare, work, preschool care and a therapy program.

“A person may call multiple times before they accept our services, but it is important for people to know that we are here for them,” O’Connell stressed.

According to a Sonoma County Superior Court Case Records search, Hernandez has an extensive criminal record, yet most are misdemeanors. In February he was charged with driving without a license and later had a warrant placed on him for missing his court date. In January of 2009 he was charged with disorderly conduct and providing false identification and sentenced to 24 months. Past charges include driving with a suspended license, possession of a switchblade and for unsafe lane changing.

Strongman says no one was injured in the incident, however, Hernandez was taken to the hospital for precautionary measures.