Culture

Campbell car dealer honored for tip that spurred arrest of man with arsenal


CAMPBELL — A local auto dealer has been recognized for his vigilant overnight 911 call this past summer that led to the arrest of a man who authorities say was driving around with an arsenal of weapons and carried journals containing hateful ideologies and specific and methodically plotted kidnapping and robbery plots.

Farukh Mamedov was honored with Medal of Service award from the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office during a Wednesday ceremony at Campbell City Hall.

The audience included family members of two of the nine victims of the May 26 mass shooting at a VTA railyard in San Jose. These relatives participated in a public-service announcement also released Wednesday calling attention to red-flag laws that temporarily disarm people who have shown overt signs of intent or potential to commit violence.

“We will never know what this person would have done if Mr. Mamedov had not dialed three numbers on his smartphone, and instead just shrugged and fallen asleep that night,” District Attorney Jeff Rosen said at the event. “Please don’t close your eyes and ears to trouble.”

Mamedov said he didn’t realize the gravity of his call until he learned more about the arrest of Los Gatos resident Wesley Charles Martines and cache of weapons found with him.

“I didn’t think much of it,” Mamedov said of his initial thoughts. “I’m very glad I called in … I was shocked.”

Nicole Chang-Megia, the widow of VTA mass shooting victim Paul Megia, and Karrey Benbow, whose son Jose Hernandez III also died in that massacre, both stressed how the act by Mamedov could have headed off the kind of violence their loved ones suffered. The shooter, VTA mechanic Samuel Cassidy, was known by co-workers for hi outbursts and violent threats, and was even documented by federal customs officials as having writing expressing antipathy toward his workplace.

Chang-Megia called her husband’s shooting “senseless and 100% preventable.”

“My husband would be alive today if proper actions were taken,” she said.

Benbow said she was speaking out and channeling her pain to stop future tragedy with a message.

“So it doesn’t happen again,” she said. “Whether it’s to one or to a mass as it happened at VTA. You have to say something. You don’t know who you’re saving.”

In the early-morning hours of July 9, Mamedov called Campbell police after spotting what he believed was a prowler looking into vehicles and a storage shed near his business on East Sunnyoaks Avenue.

The call prompted officers Scott Buckovic and Bonnie Brannen to stop a pickup truck in the area. The officers and Agent Maggie Leitz searched the truck, driven by Martines. All three officers were also honored Wednesday.

Court documents show that the search turned up the makings of a pipe bomb, two rifles outfitted with silencers and advanced scopes and sights, body armor with rifle-resistant plating and pockets stuffed with loaded rifle magazines and throwing knives, and several high-capacity rifle magazines.

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Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

      

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