A local man accused of shooting at a sheriff’s deputy before a standoff in July is accepting a plea deal and will face up to three years and eight months in prison, according to court records.
Rafael A. Rojas, 61, is set for a sentence hearing Jan. 3 and will accept a no-contest plea on three counts related to the July 5 incident, according to court records. Those records indicate he will face between three years and three years, eight months in prison.
He will accept the plea bargain on counts that include assault with a deadly weapon, firearm possession and obstruction of justice. An array of other charges will be dismissed, according to records from a Dec. 6 trial setting hearing.
The San Benito County District Attorney’s Office initially filed eight counts against a man accused of shooting a firearm toward a deputy before a standoff in Hollister. All of them were felony charges except one.
Rojas is represented by Greg LaForge.
According to a sheriff’s office statement after the incident:
At 11:30 a.m. July 5, a San Benito County Sheriff’s deputy attempted to stop the driver of a vehicle for a traffic violation in the area of East and Fourth streets in the City of Hollister. Once the deputy activated his emergency lights, the driver of the vehicle evaded the stop and a pursuit ensued.
The pursuit continued through the city of Hollister at slow to moderate speeds. In the area of Paseo Drive, a single gunshot was fired from within Rojas’ vehicle. Nobody was struck by the fired round.
In the area of the 1300 Block of Marne Drive, Rojas stopped the car and ran on foot into the neighborhood. As the deputy pursued Rojas, now joined by officers from the Hollister Police Department, he saw a handgun in his right hand. The deputy and officers ordered Rojas to drop the gun, but he refused and challenged the deputy and officers to shoot him.
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. Deputies from the San Benito County Sheriff’s Office and officers from the Hollister Police Department converged on the scene and began evacuating residents from the area.
Officers from the Hollister Police Department engaged Rojas in conversation and negotiations to disarm him for nearly 20-25 minutes. Their patience and professionalism were paramount to the safe conclusion of this case. At one point, officers used their phone, and a Deputies phone, to establish a line of communication between Rojas and a family member. The family member was able to work with the officers and help convince Rojas to drop the gun and surrender.
Rojas was arrested and was uninjured in this standoff. 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, to include their patrol staff, detectives, administration and their Press Information Officer Sergeant Don Pershall for all their help during this event.
Anyone with information on this case is urged to contact the San Benito County Sheriff’s Office on our anonymous tip-line at (831) 636-4084. Or, you can TEXT-A-TIP to 888777 by typing TIP SBCSO followed by your message. To sign up for NIXLE ALERTS text SBCSO to 888777 and follow the prompts.