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Man Shot Trying to Hijack a Train

Armed with a bow and arrow, he's arrested after seizing a freight engine in Montclair, police say.

October 11, 2005|Susannah Rosenblatt | Times Staff Writer

A man armed with a bow and arrow who commandeered a Union Pacific freight train stopped in Montclair on Sunday night was shot and wounded by police, authorities said.

Juventino Vallejo-Camerena, 43, of Pomona climbed onto one of the train's two locomotives about 10:45 p.m. and threatened the two crew members with a bow and arrow, Union Pacific spokesman Mark Davis said.

The engineer and conductor fled the train, which was stopped at a signal, and cut off fuel to the engine with an emergency button outside the cab. They were not harmed, Davis said.

Alone in the cab, Vallejo-Camerena refused to drop his bow and arrow after Montclair police officers ordered him to do so, said Capt. Keith Jones, spokesman for the department.

He nocked and pointed the arrow at officers on the scene, near Monte Vista Avenue in western San Bernardino County, and threatened to take over the train, Jones said. Police then shot Vallejo-Camerena in the wrist and upper arm, according to a Montclair Police report.

The attempted train-jacking was "the first time I remember in 25 years something like this ever happening," Davis said. "How many times does somebody come and take over a train with a bow and arrow?"

Vallejo-Camerena was arrested on suspicion of train robbery, assault with a deadly weapon and resisting arrest, and was treated for non-life-threatening wounds at Chino Valley Medical Center. He is in custody at West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga, Jones said.

Authorities said Vallejo-Camerena was homeless and the did not disclose whether they knew why he tried to hijack the train.

Railroad police are assisting the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department with the investigation, Davis said.

Locomotives are not equipped with locking devices on doors, which could jeopardize the crew's safety if they needed to escape a train in an emergency, he said.

The 71-car train was hauling retail goods from Salt Lake City to the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, Davis said. Sunday night's incident did not cause any major delays, he said.

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