A Lancaster man who allegedly drove his fugitive LAPD officer son to Texas and crossed into Mexico with him to help him escape prosecution for homicide appeared in federal court Thursday and was ordered held without bail.
An FBI agent's affidavit filed last week said Victor Manuel Solis drove his 27-year-old son Henry Solis, who is wanted in the March 13 fatal shooting of an Ontario man, to El Paso.
New court documents charging the elder Solis allege the father actually took his son from El Paso into Mexico on foot, and then lied to federal agents about it.
The younger Solis is suspected of killing 23-year-old Salome Rodriguez Jr. after a fight near a downtown Pomona nightclub. An arrest warrant was issued for Solis on suspicion of murder, and the FBI is offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.
After Solis was named as a suspect, the probationary officer was promptly fired by Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck, who said he had dishonored the LAPD.
Henry Solis made self-incriminating statements and said he would never be seen again, according to an affidavit authored by FBI Special Agent Scott Garriola last week.
The affidavit stated that Victor Solis, 53, told agents in Texas he had dropped his son off at an El Paso bus station and did not know where he had gone.
A new affidavit filed in U.S. District Court in El Paso Thursday alleges that Victor Solis actually walked with his son over the border into Juarez, Mexico, and then lied to federal agents about, saying he had gone alone.
Video from the pedestrian border crossing showed the pair going into Juarez together, according to the affidavit from FBI Special Agent Armando Soto, who is assigned to the bureau's El Paso Division.
Victor Solis told agents he had dropped his son off at a bus station called Las Limosinas early March 14. He said he then parked near the border crossing and slept in his truck, waiting until what he felt was a less dangerous time to cross into Juarez, the affidavit states. He said he went to the Mexican border city on foot at 2 p.m. and returned about 8 p.m., then called a detective to say his son would never be found.
The video showed Henry and Victor Solis crossing into Juarez at 5:40 a.m. on March 14, according to Soto. The FBI released photos Thursday evening that the agency said showed the two men crossing the border together.
The older Solis was arrested Thursday morning in at his home in Lancaster, a spokeswoman for the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office said.
His home was searched for evidence related to his son's alleged flight into Mexico, Garriola told KTLA. Victor Solis was waiting outside when authorities arrived to arrest him, Garriola said.
The special agent testified that he found ammunition and $5,000 in cash during the search.
On Thursday, Victor Solis appeared in federal court in downtown Los Angeles to face charges in connection with his actions, according to a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California. He was charged with lying to a federal agent in an attempt to conceal his son's location, court documents indicate.
He was ordered held without bail and waived further proceedings in L.A., the U.S. Attorney's spokesman said. A judge ordered him removed to Texas by the U.S. Marshals Service.
Prosecutors successfully sought to have him detained without bail, arguing he is a foreign national who allegedly assisted a fugitive into Mexico and a flight risk, court documents show.
Rodriguez's funeral took place in East Los Angeles Thursday morning, and his family gathered in Ontario Thursday night. His mother said the family was focused on the victim.
"I haven't been thinking about Henry Solis. ... My thoughts are only with my son," said Lidia Rodriguez. "I know that we buried him, his body ... but his soul is with God."
The family is being represented by famed attorney Gloria Allred, who said the victim was hard-working, had no criminal history and had done missionary work as a teen.
"Henry has dragged his father into this tragedy. It is time for Henry to return to Los Angeles and face the justice system as his dad was forced to do today," Allred said in a brief statement.