Desert Hot Springs Pursuit Suspect Arrested

Desert Hot Springs Pursuit Suspect Arrested

Sara Sanchez Connect

A man who accused of shooting at a detective while leading police on a chase through Desert Hot Springs that ended in the open desert was arrested after a day on the lam, police said Sunday.

At about 7:30 p.m. Friday, officers spotted a vehicle that matched the description of one that had been involved in a fatal shooting earlier in the week at an illegal gambling operation at Palm Drive and Pierson Boulevard, a spokeswoman for the city said.

Officers pursued the driver as he fired at them, though he did not strike any law enforcement personnel or police vehicles.

The suspect headed toward Two Bunch Palms Trail and West Drive, where he drove off road and into the open desert, got out of his vehicle and fled on foot, the spokeswoman said.

The suspect’s vehicle then caught fire for an unknown reason, and police later confirmed the suspect had not been inside it. A perimeter was set up and a SWAT team and police helicopter were summoned to help in the manhunt.

Raymond Villegas, 26, of Indio was able to escape capture until Saturday night when he was arrested in Desert Hot Springs and booked into the Larry D. Smith Correctional Center on suspicion of attempted murder of a police officer, among numerous other felonies, said Desert Hot Springs police Sgt. Phil Weigle.

He remained behind bars without bail.