N.J. murder suspect captured in county

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Barry County Sheriff Mick Epperly and Undersheriff Dave Bowman captured a New Jersey murder suspect last Friday when the man walked past a command post the two officers had established on the edge of the Monett city limits.

According to a press release issued by Detective Robert Evenson with the Barry County Sheriff's Office, Epperly and Bowman were stationed near Herd's truck stop on Highway 37 when they noticed the suspect, Gabriel Torres, walking to the store from an apartment complex where he was thought to be staying.

Epperly and Bowman exited their vehicle and were able to take Torres into custody without incident. The 34-year-old's identity was confirmed and he was arrested and transported to the Barry County Jail where he awaits extradition to Camden County, N.J.

Torres had been on the run since Dec. 4 when Camden County, N.J., authorities issued an arrest warrant for Torres who is accused of murder in connection to a gang-related shooting. Torres is believed to be a member of the Latin Kings street gang.

U.S. Deputy Marshals contacted the Barry County Sheriff's Department on Dec. 13 and informed local law enforcement officials that Torres was possibly hiding out in an apartment in Monett.

After one of the deputy marshals confirmed Torres' whereabouts, the Barry County Sheriff's office and officers from the Monett Police Department set up surveillance on the apartment.

The arrest of Torres by Epperly and Bowman occurred shortly after officers began plans to take Torres into custody.

"I want to express my gratitude to the U.S. Marshals and the Monett Police Department," said Sheriff Epperly. "This is another example of how effective cooperative efforts of multiple law enforcement agencies pay off with positive results."

According to Associated Press reports, Torres is accused of fatally shooting 22-year-old Daniel Gonzalez on Oct. 31 in Camden, N.J., during an apparent dispute over stolen auto parts.

The two men allegedly exchanged gunfire and both were hit. Torres drove away from the scene but was later taken to a Camden hospital by relatives where he later recovered. Torres was apparently released from the hospital before he was formally charged with murder.

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