Copycat robbery past of US Sikh family ‘killer’
The man involved in the kidnapping and killing of the Indian-origin Sikh family in California, including an eight-month-old baby girl, had previously been jailed for robbery after he held a family he had then worked for at gunpoint and terrorised them 17 years ago.
Jesus Salgado, who was arrested on Thursday on the suspicion of kidnapping and killing the Sikh family of four — eight-month-old Aroohi Dheri, her 27-year-old mother Jasleen Kaur, her 36-year-old father Jasdeep Singh and her 39-year-old uncle Amandeep Singh — was sentenced to 11 years in prison in 2007 and was released in 2015 and discharged from parole three years later, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
He also has a conviction for possession of a controlled substance, the department said. Nearly two decades ago, Salgado worked for a family, which also owned a trucking company, but was fired in 2004 because the family suspected him of stealing money, members of the family told the Los Angeles Times.
Kathy and her daughter Katrina did not immediately recognise Salgado when they first saw his surveillance images. They noticed the methods in the two crimes seemed eerily similar: terrorise a family on their property at gunpoint and force them to follow orders under the threat of death.
On the night of December 19, 2005, he showed up at their home wearing a mask and held a gun to the father’s head and tied his hands with duct tape, recalled his daughter Katrina, who was 16 at that time
Salgado rounded up the family, as well as a friend of Katrina’s who was visiting, and took them to the garage, where the family kept a safe with cash and jewellery, she and her mother, Kathy, said.
After robbing them, Salgado led the family to the pool in the backyard and made them jump in as he escaped. He was caught a few days later after the family reported him to police.
Salgado was convicted in early 2007 of home invasion robbery with a gun, attempted false imprisonment and witness intimidation, Merced County prosecutors said.
Video surveillance this week showed that, as with Kathy and Katrina’s family, the suspect in Monday’s kidnapping held the Singh family at gunpoint, binding the men’s arms.
Salgado was identified as a person of interest in the investigation and “prior to law enforcement involvement” attempted to take his own life, the sheriff’s office said in a statement. He was taken to a hospital in critical condition.