SAN QUENTIN (CBS SF) — An inmate who walked away from his San Quentin State Prison work crew may be connected to a carjacking that happened nearby on Wednesday night, according to prison officials and evidenced by surveillance video.
The inmate, identified as 21-year-old Shalom Mendoza, was discovered to have walked away from an out grounds support facility around 9:35 p.m. during an institutional check, Lt. Samuel Robinson said.
A search of the area determined Mendoza had escaped, and the prison then activated its emergency operations and escape pursuit plan to try and find him, Robinson said
Prison officials believe Mendoza then may have carjacked a motorist who was driving a Toyota Rav4 with a California license plate 6STZ502. San Rafael Police Department responded at around 9:17 p.m. to the Home Depot parking lot at 111 Shoreline Parkway on a report of a carjacking that had just occurred.
Officers located the female carjacking victim who stated that she had been approached by a Hispanic male adult she described as approximately 5 feet, 6 inches tall and weighing 170 pounds. He was last seen wearing a white t-shirt and khaki or light-yellow pants.
The victim said the suspect motioned underneath his shirt as if he had a weapon or gun and then threatened to kill the woman. The suspect demanded the victim’s car keys. Once the suspect took the keys, he stole her car and fled the scene. The victim was not injured.
According to California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations Press Secretary Vicky Waters, a positive identification is still being confirmed on the suspect who stole that vehicle near the prison Wednesday night.
Mendoza was incarcerated after being sentenced to 5 years in prison for using a deadly weapon during a carjacking/attempted carjacking and evading or attempting to evade peace officers while driving recklessly in Los Angeles County in December 2017, Robinson said. He arrived at San Quentin on April 28.
Mendoza is described as being 5 feet, 5 inches tall, with brown hair, brown eyes and weighs 177 pounds
Anyone who sees Mendoza or knows where he is should call Robinson at (415) 455-5000 or 911.