Suspect in Fremont police shootings has violent criminal past

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There are new details about the man who police say shot two Fremont police officers. Gerald Villabrille Jr. was later found dead in a house after a fiery standoff. (KGO-TV)

There are new details about the man who police say shot two Fremont police officers. Gerald Villabrille Jr. was later found dead in a house after a fiery standoff.

The suspect had a violent criminal past dating back to 1996 and at the time of the shooting, he was on the run for meth possession and identity theft. According to our media partner the Bay Area News Group, Gerald Villabrille Jr. was a Norteno gang member.

RELATED: Tear gas sparks fire that kills suspect in shooting of 2 Fremont officers

On Wednesday, Villabrille was pulled over during a traffic stop. Police say the truck he was driving was stolen. Authorities say a heated confrontation began and police say Villabrille shot two Fremont police officers trying to get away. He was eventually tracked to a stranger's home nearby.

When police contacted him, he claimed he had a hostage, which proved not to be true. Officers ended up shooting tear gas into the home sparking a fire. Hours later, Villabrille was found dead inside.

RELATED: Suspect identified in Fremont officer-involved shooting

"We made rescue attempts, repeated rescue attempts to get into the house, but he had barricaded himself in a location that we were unable to safely get to," said Newark Police Commander Mike Carroll.

Villabrille's cause of death is now being determined. The two officers who were shot are still being treated at Regional Medical Center of San Jose.

One officer remains in critical condition, the other is still stable.

There's nothing but charred remains of the house on Roberts Avenue in where Villabrille was found. On Friday, restoration crews boarded it up.

Neighbors struggle to return to their normal routine.

"It was like a war zone around here with the bombs going off. It was like bombs going off with the gunfire and so I'm just really tired. I was up the whole time," said Fremont resident Melissa Hershberger.

Police knocked down Melissa Herhberger's fence during the frantic search for the shooter. She's worried the noise scared off the mother of two baby squirrels, which she found abandoned in their nest.

"He could have very well broken down our door and come into our house," Hershberger said. "And we were there. We have an 18-month-old baby in the house, so we're just thankful he didn't choose our house."

The hardest part, they lost their dog Huckleberry in the standoff. His doghouse is still in the backyard.

Police, family and friends are looking for ways to assist the family who lost their home. A GoFundMe account has been set up to help with the family.

RELATED: Fellow coworkers rush Fremont officers to hospital after shooting

Related Topics:
newsfireofficer involved shootingcrimeshootingstandoffFremont
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