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Sheriff's Department passes key test in arrest at Grossmont College

Posted on: Oct 24, 2013 4:00:00 PM

Contact: Anne Krueger (619) 644-7842

  The arrest of a man on Tuesday suspected of attacking a woman in the Grossmont College parking garage was the first major test of the sheriff’s deputies who began patrolling the campuses of the East County college district two months ago.

The deputies’ quick apprehension of the suspect showed their value in ensuring the safety of students and staff at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges.

“This incident demonstrated the level of professional law enforcement that we knew we could count on from the Sheriff’s Department,’ said Cindy L. Miles, chancellor of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District. “I’m very pleased with their response and quick thinking in this case.”

The district’s Governing Board ratified a contract in July with the Sheriff’s Department, becoming the first higher education institution in San Diego County to have law enforcement provided by the department. The Sheriff’s Department, which began patrolling at the campuses August 17, replaced a district Public Safety Department that had inadequate resources and systems to provide adequate security for the 30,000 students and staff members at the two East County colleges.

According to Sheriff’s Sgt. Victor Perry, a student on the first floor of the Grossmont College parking garage was accosted at knifepoint late Tuesday morning by a man as she prepared to get into her car. Another student who saw the struggle began honking his horn until the assailant was scared away.

The victim and witness reported the incident to the Public Safety office, and Campus and Parking Services dispatcher Tiffany Hungerford immediately alerted the sheriff’s deputies stationed at Grossmont College with a description of the suspect. Deputies from the Santee sheriff’s station were called to set a perimeter around the campus in case the suspect tried to leave the area.

Sheriff’s Detective Felix Santiesban searched the parking garage and located a man matching the suspect’s description. The man was found to have a kitchen knife in his pocket and was positively identified by the victim.

The arrest occurred at 11:34 a.m., 17 minutes after the initial report to the Public Safety Department. The suspect was arraigned today is being held in the San Diego County jail.

“I’m very thankful to the heroes who helped keep our campus safe – the student witness, and the quick action by our dispatcher and deputies,” Grossmont College President Sunny Cooke said. “The safety and security of our students and staff is always our top priority.”

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