“Most Wanted” Fugitive Can Run, But Can't Hide

Preciado accused of shooting two LA deputies

A gang member wanted for nearly a decade on suspicion of shooting at two Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies, wounding one in the head, was in custody Monday, an FBI spokeswoman said.

Emigdio Preciado Jr., 37, who was described on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitive list as a "known member of a violent street gang in Los Angeles," was caught Friday night in Mexico by Mexican police and FBI agents, said Laura Eimiller of the FBI.

Preciado was wanted "in connection with the attempted double-homicide of two sheriff's deputies in Whittier, California, in which both deputies survived an automatic weapons assault, and in which one deputy was severely injured," according to an FBI statement.

The shooting occurred during what the FBI described as a "routine traffic stop," and 21 bullets were fired, one of which struck one of the deputies in the head.

"Preciado was also wanted on a federal charge of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution," the statement read.

After the Sept. 5, 2000, shooting, Preciado apparently fled to Mexico, and three months later, a home video surfaced showing him dancing at a party in Tepuzhuacan.

The deputy he allegedly shot, Michael Schaap, said at the time that, "In my mind, Emigdio Preciado was a coward. I see him dancing, having a good time down in Mexico, I'm fighting my own battles as far as my disability. I want him behind bars. I want my day of justice."

The other deputy involved in the shooting, David Timberlake, said at the time, "All I remember is seeing a door open and then our windshield basically exploded."

There had been a $150,000 reward for information leading to his capture, Eimiller said.

More details will be released at a news conference Monday to be held by the FBI and Sheriff's Department, at which the two deputies are expected to attend, she said, although a spokesman at the Sheriff's Headquarters Bureau this afternoon could not confirm the capture and said the department had no immediate comment.

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