Felon Gets Plea Deal in Struggle with Brea Officer

Felon Gets Plea Deal in Struggle with Brea Officer (1)

For resisting arrest and striking a Brea police officer during an arrest, a 31-year-old felon pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two years in prison on Thursday.

Prosecutors say Gilbert Antonio Villalba has a prior strike for a second-degree robbery crime. Villalba could have faced up to seven years and four months in prison if convicted at trial. Prosecutors objected to an Orange County Superior Court judge’s plea offer.

Prosecutors said an officer was on patrol on Feb. 2 when he noticed Villalba driving a blue Hyundai Elantra and knew he was sought on an outstanding felony warrant. According to prosecutors, the officer attempted to stop Villalba, but he swerved into a Home Depot parking lot, where he leaped out of the car and fled.

As the officer pursued him, Villalba circled back to his vehicle, where his girlfriend, who was in the passenger seat, was standing outside, according to prosecutors.
Prosecutors claim the officer threw the guy against the car and wrestled him down to keep him out.

During the struggle, Villalba grabbed the officer’s service handgun and attempted to rip it from its holster, according to prosecutors.

According to prosecutors, the officer hit Villalba several times as he attempted to take the revolver. According to prosecutors, Villalba also instructed his girlfriend, “Babe, grab his gun, grab his gun…” She was adamant about not interfering.

According to prosecutors, the officer thought he would be “overpowered” by the suspect, but a former law enforcement officer watched the battle and assisted the officer in bringing the subject under control.

Villalba admitted to felony charges of resisting arrest, violence on a peace officer, and resisting an executive officer.

“This was not resisting arrest,” stated Todd Spitzer, the Orange County District Attorney. “This was an attack on a uniformed police officer in which a wanted felon took two of the officer’s holster bolts totally off.” “He is alive today only because of God’s grace, a good Samaritan, and the officer’s desire to survive.”

Spitzer slammed the plea agreement.

“However, instead of holding a violent felon with a long criminal past accountable, today’s slap on the wrist sentencing sent a strong message that police lives are unimportant,” Spitzer added. “Police officers are our sworn defenders, and attacking a uniformed police officer demonstrates a blatant disrespect for the rule of law and community safety.”

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