Daniel Noriega had a feeling someone had been following him, but he didn’t know why until the morning of Dec. 1 after he dropped his girlfriend’s son off at Westmont Elementary in Anaheim and started to drive away.
"He pointed at me, as soon as he pointed at me, that’s when the gun went off," Noriega said. "I was shocked; I was scared."
Noriega did not have a cell phone, so he drove to a Buena Park gas station and called 911. He described the shooting with who he would later learn was an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officer.
"I think they’re confusing me with somebody or something. He turned on his front lights and then he shot a gun, a gunshot went through his windshield. He didn’t hit me or nothing," Noriega told the 911 dispatcher.
The 28-year-old carpenter said police arrived en masse and took him into custody.
According to the 911 tape, the officers refused to believe he wasn’t their suspect:
Buena Park Dispatcher: "Do you have the name of who you were looking for, by chance?"
ICE: "Um, yeah, I do. Um, it’s Juan Carlos Alcala."
Buena Park Dispatcher: "Okay. The guy that called us is a Daniel Noriega. But the plate on the vehicle matches what Anaheim gave us that you gave them."
ICE: "Yeah, he’s a fugitive so he’s not giving the right name anyways."
Officers pressed Noriega for more information.
"They were asking me like do you have other ID’s, trying to catch me in a lie and I said this is who I am," Noriega said.
Noriega has since learned the ICE agents were looking for his girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend, a suspected drug dealer who was arrested in another state nine days later.
"I believe I done the right thing," Noriega said. "If I have to take off every time I’m shot at, I will, that’s my life."