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Roberto Salgado was wanted in connection with a homicide on Sunday in Vista. Salgado led police on a six-hour pursuit and was later killed in a shootout in Escondido.
Roberto Salgado was wanted in connection with a homicide on Sunday in Vista. Salgado led police on a six-hour pursuit and was later killed in a shootout in Escondido. Photo courtesy of Escondido Police Department
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Police seek motive in Escondido homicide after suspect killed in shootout

ESCONDIDO  — Law enforcement officials are still investigating a homicide after the primary suspect was killed in a shootout with police over the weekend that resulted in an officer sustaining injuries. 

Escondido Police Department initiated a vehicle pursuit on Sunday of 39-year-old Roberto Cazares Salgado, from Ramona. Following a six-hour pursuit that ended in Escondido, Salgado got out of his car and allegedly exchanged gunfire with police officers before being shot multiple times.

Salgado was later declared deceased at a nearby hospital, per the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department. 

One Escondido police officer was grazed by a bullet in the chest during the firefight and hospitalized but was later released and in stable condition. 

Salgado is the primary suspect in the homicide of 42-year-old Florencio Rodriguez, whom authorities found dead at the deceased man’s residence on the 1300 block of Teelin Avenue at around 5 p.m. Sunday.

Based on the statements of witnesses who had seen Salgado’s vehicle leaving Rodriguez’s home earlier that day, investigators identified Salgado as a suspect, Seiver said. 

According to Siever, authorities believe they have identified a motive for the homicide, but are not releasing any information while police are still interviewing witnesses and family members.

Rodriguez was the husband of Salgado’s ex-girlfriend’s sister, Seiver said, but it is not clear how well the two knew each other or what transpired leading up to the incident. 

According to Escondido Police, Salgado exited his truck and exchanged gunfire with two Escondido Police officers.
According to Escondido Police, Salgado exited his truck and exchanged gunfire with two Escondido Police officers. Photo courtesy of Escondido Police Department

Just several hours after Rodriguez’s body was discovered, a law enforcement officer spotted Salgado in a 2018 Chevrolet Silverado pickup with a female passenger. Police had previously been alerted that the suspect might be in the area, as Salgado’s mother lives in Escondido, according to Escondido Police Lt. Bode Barreth. 

The officer attempted to pull the vehicle over, but Salgado sped away, beginning what turned into a 3 ½ hour vehicle chase, with police following the suspect through Vista and Oceanside before the pursuit ended back in Escondido just before 3 a.m. Monday morning. 

While the female passenger with Salgado was initially thought to be a hostage taken by the suspect, police later determined that the woman was in fact Salgado’s cousin, and investigators no longer believe that she was a hostage, according to Barreth. 

During the vehicle pursuit, police were able to successfully deploy spike strips against the suspect’s vehicle, which made three of his tires go flat, Barreth said. After that, Salgado’s vehicle slowed down significantly and the pursuit continued at low speeds for a short time.

Authorities were subsequently able to remotely disable the Silverado pickup using OnStar, a type of software attached to certain vehicles that police can remotely access if a vehicle is classified as stolen or wanted, according to Barreth. 

After the vehicle was disabled near Mission Avenue and Gamble Street, Salgado exited his vehicle and began exchanging gunfire with police. Escondido police were able to successfully utilize two Lenco BearCats — a type of heavily armored personnel carrier typically used by military or SWAT forces — to establish a perimeter around the suspect and protect both officers and nearby civilians from the gunfire, Barreth said. 

Salgado was known to police prior to the incident and had an extensive criminal history both in California and at the federal level, according to Seiver. 

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