Car-jacking and killing suspect arrested in Fresno
Fresno police on Thursday apprehended the Washington man suspected of killing his girlfriend and stealing a vehicle from a Truckee gas station.
Michael Ray Faler, 39, was arrested on warrants alleging second-degree murder and first-degree robbery by the Fresno Police Department. He was booked into the Fresno County Jail and is awaiting extradition back to Washington by the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office.
“We were alerted by the authorities in Washington that [Faler] had a background in Fresno ” that he had lived in Fresno,” said Fresno police Sgt. Curt Chastain.
Fresno police received information on the Subaru Faler stole from the Union 76 gas station on Deerfield Drive in Truckee, and about 14 officers from the Street Violence Tactical Team searched likely locations for Faler, Chastain said.
“He was seen by an officer, but he also saw the officer and he ran,” Chastain said. “We searched the area and blocked him from getting back into the stolen vehicle, after which there was a short foot pursuit and a fight with the arresting officers.”
Chastain said both Faler and the two arresting officers sustained minor injuries, and Faler was treated and released from the hospital.
The search for Faler began Dec. 18 with a car-jacking in Snohomish County, Wash., said Snohomish County sheriff’s Public Information Officer Rich Niebusch.
Faler allegedly stole a vehicle from a 62-year-old man in a supermarket parking lot and was armed with a knife, Niebusch said.
An abandoned vehicle in the same lot led investigators to its owners ” Faler’s stepparents, Niebusch said.
Faler’s stepparents’ told investigators he had stolen their car and potentially harmed his girlfriend, a 33-year-old woman, Niebusch said.
The sheriff’s department then used local search and rescue teams to locate the dismembered body of the 33-year-old woman, Niebusch said.
During the search for Faler, Niebusch said investigators “earmarked” Reno because Faler had a gambling problem, which he said is likely why Faler was in Truckee on Dec. 20.
“His common method of operation is car-jacking,” Niebusch said.
The vehicle stolen in Truckee from the gas station was a dark blue 1997 Subaru Legacy, and still had the gas pump and hose attached, Truckee police Lt. Harwood Mitchell told the Sun.
The victim was not injured when the vehicle was taken, Mitchell said.
Faler had also been institutionalized in the past for “acute mental illness,” according to a Snohomish County news release.
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