Suspicious device leads to closure of restaurant


IMG_0526EL CENTRO –  El Centro police officers responded to the 300 block of North Imperial Avenue after receiving a call indicating George Cortez, a 45 year old resident of El Centro, was possibly armed with a shotgun inside a restaurant.

Officers arrived and were able to quickly locate and detain Cortez without incident. A search for the shotgun was conducted and officers located a piece of pipe, shotgun shells, handgun ammunition and a suspicious looking object in a restroom. The restaurant was immediately evacuated and traffic in the area was rerouted for approximately two hours.

Members from the El Centro Fire Department and Imperial County Bomb Squad were summoned to the scene after Cortez made some statements regarding the device, insinuating it was a homemade pipe bomb. The device was examined, rendered safe and ultimately determined to be a homemade firearm. Cortez was arrested and booked at the Imperial County Jail (Bkg# 960871). He faces felony charges of felon in possession of a firearm and a misdemeanor charge of a felon in possession of ammunition.

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