Case # 18HF0329
Date: February 28, 2018
SANTA ANA, Calif. – A third-striker parolee was charged today with aggravated assault on a peace officer and carjacking after initiating a pursuit and injuring the K9 that apprehended him.
Defendant: Antonio Padilla Jr., 37, Palm Desert
Charged today with the following counts:
- Aggravated assault on a peace officer
- Assault with a deadly weapon
- Injuring a police animal
- Evading while driving recklessly
- Evading a peace officer and driving against traffic
- (3) Hit and run with property damage
- Prior Serious Felony Convictions
- First degree robbery in 1998 in Orange County
- Criminal threats in 2006 in Riverside
- Unlawful possession of a firearm in 2007
- Burglary in Riverside in 2011
- Inflicting corporal injury in Riverside in 2017
Maximum Sentence: 120 years to life in state prison
Arraignment: Date and time to be determined at Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana
Circumstances of the Case
- On Feb. 18, 2018, a Garden Grove Police Department (GGPD) motorcycle patrol officer pulled Padilla over for speeding.
- While the officer wrote the citation, Padilla is accused of starting his truck and accelerating toward the officer, who was able to leap out of the way.
- On Feb. 26, 2018, GGPD detectives located Padilla in a vehicle Santa Ana and requested assistance from the Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD).
- Padilla is accused of initiating a pursuit down surface streets, driving in excess of 60 miles per hour while running stop signs and traffic lights.
- The defendant is accused of leading officers on a high-speed pursuit through Irvine, where he is further accused of fleeing his vehicle before carjacking and assaulting a young woman and her brother by dragging the victim out of her SUV.
- Padilla is accused of crashing the stolen vehicle into a curb and fleeing on foot.
- SAPD deployed K9 Puskas, who apprehended the defendant.
- As Puskas held on to Padilla, the defendant is accused of striking the K9 repeatedly. Puskas retained control of the defendant until officers took him into custody.
- Puskas was transported to a local hospital where he underwent surgery. The K9 sustained severe injuries, including the loss of most of his upper and lower teeth, and is currently in recovery.
Photo of Puskas: Santa Ana Police Department
Prosecutor: Senior Deputy District Attorney Paul Chrisopoulos, Special Prosecutions Unit