Los Angeles

Suspect in Hit-and-Run Crash That Injured ECPD Officer Arrested in LA

El Cajon Officer Hurt Scene

A suspect wanted in connection with an incident that injured an El Cajon Police Department officer in December was arrested by officers in Los Angeles on Saturday.

David Francis Cepeda Pangilinan, 41, was arrested by the Rampart Narcotics Enforcement Detail in Los Angeles, ECPD said in a tweet. NED also recovered a loaded gun and a large amount of drugs and money.

Pangilinan had a warrant out for his arrest. EXPD said the Los Angeles Police Department, The U.S. Marshal Regional Fugitive Task Force, The Fresno Police Department, the California Department of Corrections, and the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department all aided in the effort to locate him.

The ECPD officer, identified as Nick Cirello, was in critical condition after the incident but later recovered and was released from the hospital.

On December 14, Cirello was called to investigate a vehicle that was parked partially blocking the roadway on E. Washington Avenue at about 8:30 a.m. Inside the parked black SUV were two people asleep, according to the ECPD.

When officers woke the occupants, one provided an identification card that ECPD said was not his, according to the police department. When the officer began to investigate, the driver started the vehicle and put it into gear.

"One of the officers attempted to detain the driver and keep him from fleeing the scene. In doing so, the officer was trapped in the vehicle and dragged for a distance as the driver fled," ECPD Lt. Randy Soulard said.

While Cirello was being dragged, he was struck by another vehicle. At that point, he was disconnected from the SUV and launched.

Another suspect, 28-year-old Keani Flores, was arrested at a motel in the Los Angeles area of Oakhurst on Dec. 20. She is believed to be the passenger in the vehicle with Pangilinan and "actively participated in the assault of injured Officer Nick Cirello," ECPD said.

At the same time, Pangilnan was located driving in the area. He fled and evaded officers when he was confronted, ECPD said.

Officer Cirello started his career as a Police Cadet in June of 2010 and was hired as a police officer in August 2018.

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