Information provided by the San Benito County Sheriff's Office.
On July 5 around 11:30 a.m., a San Benito County Sheriff’s Deputy attempted to stop the driver of a vehicle for a traffic violation in the area of East Street and Fourth Street in Hollister. According to a press release from the sheriff’s office, the driver of the vehicle, later identified as Rafael Rojas, evaded the stop and a pursuit ensued.
The pursuit continued through the City of Hollister at slow to moderate speeds. A single gunshot was fired from within Rojas’ vehicle in the area of Paseo Drive. The direction of the shot is still under investigation, however nobody was struck by the fired round, the press release said.
Rojas, 59, stopped the car around the 1300 block of Marne Drive and ran on foot into the neighborhood. As the sheriff’s deputy pursued Rojas, now joined by Hollister Police Department officers, he saw a handgun in the suspect’s right hand. The deputy and officers ordered Rojas to drop the gun, but he refused and challenged the law enforcement officers to shoot him, the press release said.
Rojas kicked the gate open to a fence of what was later determined to be the home of a relative. An armed standoff then began in the backyard of the home, the press release said. Deputies from the sheriff’s office and officers from the police department converged on the scene and began evacuating residents from the area.
Hollister Police Department officers engaged Rojas in conversation and negotiations to disarm him for nearly 20 to 25 minutes. According to the press release, their patience and professionalism were paramount to the safe conclusion of the incident. At one point, officers established a line of communication over the phone between Rojas and a family member. The family member was able to work with law enforcement officers and help convince Rojas to drop the gun and surrender.
Rojas was arrested and uninjured in the standoff. The investigation is ongoing. Rojas was booked into the San Benito County Jail on numerous charges, including assault on a peace officer, felony evasion, and felon in possession of a firearm, the press release said.
The firearm, a Ruger 9mm pistol, was recovered as well as the vehicle that still had the shell casing from the fired bullet inside.
The San Benito County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the Hollister Police Department staff, including their patrol staff, detectives, administration, and their Press Information Officer Sergeant Don Pershall for their help during the event.
Anyone with information on this case is urged to contact the San Benito County Sheriff’s Office on the anonymous tip line at (831) 636-4084. Or people can text to 888777 by typing TIP SBCSO followed by the message. To sign up for Nixle alerts, text SBCSO to 888777 and follow the prompts.