PORT ORFORD, Ore. — A fugitive wanted on attempted murder charges in California surfaced in Curry County last week. He was arrested after a brief chase and subsequent standoff, according to the Curry County Sheriff's Office.
Deputies in Curry County first got onto the trail of 34-year-old Kevin Gerolaga while investigating a series of thefts. On May 6, a CCSO detective was investigating a burglary on Elk River Road in Port Orford where the perpetrators took roughly $8,000 in items. A witness reported seeing two vehicles leaving the house before daylight that morning.
While searching for the suspect vehicles, detective Maia Mellow found a pair of vehicles at a home on Langlois Mountain Road that had been reported stolen out of Coos County. After talking to the owner of the property, Mello identified a possible suspect "known to deal with stolen vehicles in both Coos and Curry counties," the Sheriff's Office said.
The investigation continued the next day, when Sheriff John Ward and deputy Tim King found a 2003 Chevy Tahoe spotted by detective Mello the day before, parked near a house frequented by the suspect. A few minutes later, someone driving the Tahoe turned onto Elk River Road, speeding away after seeing the deputy.
The suspect passed deputy King and Sheriff Ward, but the deputy tracked it to a driveway before finding the Tahoe parked behind a house.
"Deputy King then saw a Hispanic male with a female trying to get in the back door of the residence. The male took off running towards the neighbor’s residence which was a duplex and obscured by brush while Deputy King kept yelling for him to stop," Sheriff Ward said.
According to Ward, the deputy stopped with his K-9, "Nero," to search the Tahoe, finding evidence that identified the suspect as Kevin Gerolaga.
Gerolaga had a felony warrant out of San Joaquin County, California, for attempted murder. In April, Gerolaga had allegedly shot his girlfriend in the face and was considered "armed and dangerous."
Deputy King and Nero tracked Gerolaga to the back of the nearby duplex, but the residents said that he was not inside. Someone in the adjacent duplex reported that a Hispanic man had broken into his place and was still inside.
Troopers from Oregon State Police and an officer from Port Orford Police arrived to set up a perimeter around the duplex, while detectives applied for a search warrant. Officers outside tried hailing Gerolaga over a PA system. About fifteen minutes after the first hails, Gerolaga came outside and was taken into custody.
The Sheriff's Office held Gerolaga at the Curry County Jail until he was handed over the next day to two deputies from San Joaquin County.