The man who died in a shootout that killed a DEA agent and wounded two others at Tucson’s downtown Amtrak depot was on the run after bonding out of jail in California.
Darrion Taylor, 26, bonded out of jail in Alameda County in Northern California in late December last year and had been facing a slew of violent charges, according to the Alameda County District Attorney’s office and the Alameda County Sherriff’s Office.
Sgt. Raymond Kelly, public information officer for Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, called the incident a preventable tragedy.
“It’s a disaster, it’s a disaster,” Kelly said. “Everybody involved in the criminal justice will tell you the same thing.”
Taylor’s bail was set at $255,000 on Aug. 21, 2020. He bonded out of Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, California, on 10%, or $25,500, on Dec. 29.
Originally, the charge was attempted murder of a law enforcement officer and stemmed from an incident where Taylor, brought into a police station on other charges, lunged at an officer and attempted to remove his firearm.
That charge was eventually reduced to assault with a deadly weapon and resisting arrest, Kelly said.
Taylor was wanted out of Sacramento County on a $200,000 warrant for an earlier incident that saw him accused of robbery, assault with a deadly weapon and cruelty toward a child after allegedly firing into a residence.
According to Kelly, it was those charges out of Sacramento that led to Taylor being brought to the police station where he lunged at an officer.
Kelly said had it not been for the pandemic, Taylor most likely would never have been eligible for bail.
“The judicial council of California has come up with the zero-bail program,” he said. “So we have people normally that would stay in custody are now getting bails and being released due to the COVID pandemic.”
However, according to the district attorney’s office, Taylor’s bail was set by the presiding judge, Delia Trevino, using California’s pre-COVID bond schedule.
On Oct. 4, Taylor died in a gunfight on an Amtrak train in downtown Tucson. DEA Special Agent Michael Garbo was killed, and another DEA agent was wounded, along with a Tucson police officer.
A DEA agent identified as J.C. in court documents boarded the train and said he observed Taylor and Devonte Okeith Mathis sitting in the same row, but on opposite sides of the aisle. The agent then said he saw Mathis move several bags a few rows away and returned to his seat.
Mathis told the agent the bags were not his. The agent opened the bags and found marijuana and related products, court documents say.
The shootout on the train began when agents tried to make contact with Taylor, court documents say.
Mathis was arrested after officers linked him to bags that contained about 2.39 kilograms of marijuana, marijuana edibles and other products related to the drugs, court documents say.
Edward Celaya is a breaking news and marijuana reporter. He has been on both beats since May 2021.