A twice deported illegal immigrant is accused of murdering two law enforcement officers whose widows were invited to sit with First Lady Melania Trump at the president’s speech to Congress.
Before the 2014 crime rampage was over, Deputy Danny Oliver and Detective Michael Davis Jr. were dead, a motorist was shot in a botched carjacking, and another officer was wounded.
The suspect? Luis Monroy Bracamonte (sometimes called Luis Bracamontes and Marcelo Marquez), a twice deported undocumented immigrant and Mexican national with a criminal record. He’s scheduled to stand trial in March 2017 in the 2014 deaths of Oliver, a Sacramento County Sheriff’s Deputy, and Davis, a Placer County Sheriff’s Detective.
The officers’ widows – Susan Oliver and Jessica Davis – were among those invited by President Donald Trump for his February 28 speech to Congress. CNN is reporting that the president may seek a compromise bill on immigration, however, but only for those without serious criminal records.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Suspect Was Deported Twice From the United States After Committing Crimes
It turned out that the suspect in the two officers’ deaths had already been deported from the United States twice before the two officers were slain, first for a drug crime in 1997 and then once again in 2001, KCRA reported. He told Fox40 he was part of a cartel. Bracamonte also told the television station in an exclusive interview that his wife, Janelle Monroy Marquez, “was cheating on him with his brother and a couple she met on Craigslist. Marquez says he ended up in Sacramento while aimlessly looking for the couple’s address.” That’s how he ended up in that city to encounter the first officer, Danny Oliver.
KCRA reported that the Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff’s Office, “had Marquez in custody four times” as far back as 1996. He was released to ICE after spending several months behind bars but in 1998 “Marquez was arrested on the possession of narcotic drugs, misconduct involving weapons and possession of marijuana. He was jailed and released,” according to KCRA. As a result, controversial Sheriff Joe Arpaio sharply criticized the federal government after the officers’ deaths.
It didn’t end there. In 2001, Bracamonte was arrested again on drug charges; at the time of the crime spree, he and his wife – who was in the car when it occurred – were living in Utah, according to the television station, which added that he worked as a house painter. According to Arpaio, he was sitting in his jail eating bologna sandwiches before the murders.
2. Davis Was Recalled as a Hero Whose Own Father Died in the Line of Duty
In an extremely tragic circumstance, Davis’ own father also was a law enforcement officer who died in the line of duty. In fact, the father and son died on exactly the same day – 26 years apart.
“Detective Davis’ father, Detective Michael David Davis Sr., was killed in the line of duty on October 24th, 1988, while serving with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. Their line of duty deaths occurred exactly 26 years apart to the day,” the memorial page for Davis Jr. says.
As with the son, the father’s death had a nexus to border security and the illegal flow of drugs.
Davis Sr., the father, according to Riverside County, was an investigator who was “involved in Operation Border Ranger, a joint drug smuggling interdiction operation being conducted in Imperial County by six Southern California Sheriff’s Departments, the National Guard and Federal authorities… the California Army National Guard helicopter, which carried Investigator Davis and other members of the team, crashed into the mountainous area of western Imperial County. The aircraft was immediately consumed by fire and all aboard died instantly.”
Davis’ father left behind five children. Davis Jr. was only 16 when his father died.
According to CBS local, the sheriff of Placer County said that the younger Davis was 42 when he died and he had four children with his wife, Jessica.
In a recorded message at her husband’s funeral, Jessica Davis said, according to the Auburn Journal, that her husband “served his community with everything that he had. He was a husband and he loved so hard. He was a father who adored all of his children. And a coach who mentored others children. It was just part of him but when it came to me he was always a great protector. That I’m grateful for because eight years doesn’t seem long enough. But they were pretty amazing.”
She added, according to the newspaper, “Everything was always full force and go. He always said that tomorrow wasn’t promised to us. He was my best friend and my hero. And now he’s everybody’s hero. But it’s not good-bye. It’s just see you later. I love you.”
Davis Jr. was a veteran officer when he died. “He first came to the sheriff’s department as a reserve deputy sheriff in 1996. He then became a police officer with the city of Auburn in 1996, and he came to the sheriff’s department in 1999—15 years ago. He served his last 10 years as a homicide investigator,” the sheriff said, according to the television station.
3. Oliver Was Remembered as a Loving Father & Husband Who Was Married to His High School Sweetheart
Susan Oliver has spoken poignantly and emotionally about the man who was her high school sweetheart.
“I lost the man I was married to for 25 years,” she said in 2015. “Each day I look for parental backup for rearing my child who is 12-years-old, and I feel that way.” Officer Oliver was also a veteran on his force.
According to Fox 40, “Dep. Oliver worked as a ‘problem-oriented policing’ officer, and passed up promotions in order to continue working to improve the troubled neighborhood where he grew up.”
Susan Oliver told Congress in a 2015 speech that her children reach milestones without their father. “My daughter recently got engaged, and there will be a marriage he will not be at. There will be school graduations and even our weekly family brunches that we held. I was with him since I graduated high school 25 years ago, and we watched each other grow up. We made careers together and raised two children. We could just look at each other and know what we needed.”
She said that the couple had mastered “trust and understanding” but “because of the actions of one criminal this all ended. My life will never be the same.”
4. The Officers Were Killed in a Crime Spree That Left two Others Injured
It all came to a head on October 24, 2014 , according to the Sacramento Bee. Bracamonte was armed with an AR-15 rifle, the Bee reported. (He later told Fox40 that his real name is Luis Enrique Monroy-Bracamonte; the suspect’s trial is sceduled for March 2017, three years after the crime spree).
Susan Oliver later spoke to the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2015 about what authorities say happened. In that address, she said, “My husband and father of two approached a car on his beat. This time it was the last time. The last thing my husband attempted to do… was to ask the man inside the car how his day was going, but he never made it to the driver’s window. At about 10:30 .am., that man was in the country illegally and armed with numerous illegal weapons. He aimed one outside a car in a parking lot of Motel 6, killing my husband with a shot to his forehead. I can honestly say not a day goes by that this has not affected me.”
She said that Danny Oliver was a 15-year veteran of the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department who “was not a man to boast or gloat about his professional accomplishments. Danny simply felt he was doing his job… he was policing his community and trying to make a difference. His job was to identify possible community challenges and try to get ahead of them. He put himself into harm’s way every day he put his uniform on.”
Davis was killed as the suspect tried to elude police. Davis was a sheriff’s deputy for Placer County in California. According to the county’s memorial page, he “arrived in the area with his partner. As Detective Davis and other deputies exited their cars, the suspect, who had been concealed in a carport, opened fire on the deputies with a rifle. Detective Davis was immediately shot along with another responding deputy.”
5. Legislation Was Sponsored in the Men’s Names to Toughen the Government Response to Illegal Immigrants Who Commit Crimes
According to Roll Call, Susan Oliver was among the families who testified in support of measures to crack down on illegal immigrants who commit crimes, and sanctuary cities that harbor them.
Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, had announced new legislation “that would withhold federal law enforcement grants for states and local jurisdictions that don’t cooperate with federal officials in holding and transferring criminal immigrants in the country illegally” as well as requiring prison time for those who “repeatedly re-enter the United States after having been deported,” Roll Call reported.
The legislation was named in honor of Oliver and Davis. The Davis-Oliver Act attempted “to increase collaboration between local, state and federal officials in the enforcement of U.S. immigration laws.” It was introduced by then Senator Jeff Sessions, who is now Trump’s Attorney General.
The bill was read twice and referred to the Judiciary Committee. The legislation has not yet passed. As a candidate, though, Donald Trump urged its passage during a campaign speech, saying, according to a CNN transcript, “The Davis-Oliver bill will enhance cooperation with state and local authorities to ensure that criminal immigrants and terrorists are swiftly really, swiftly identified and removed and they will go fast, believe me, they’re going to go fast.”