A kipnap-rape suspect, Reyes, shot and fatally wounded Tehachapi Police Chief William T. Mantoth before barricading himself in a residence fronting on Highway 58. He was later captured and charged with intent to commit murder.
Mantoth, felled with a .22 caliber bullet wounds of the hip and abdomen, was reported in critical condition following five hours of abdominal surgery. He later died of his wounds.
The incident began when a 16-year-old girl appeared at the police station and reported that she had been kidnapped and held for two days by Reyes, and repeatedly raped during those two days. Police Chief Mantoth obtained a complaint charging Reyes with kidnap and rape, and accompanied by Police Officer Joe Beene, and Sheriff’s Investigator Ben Austin, arrived at the Reyes residence to serve the warrant.
Mantoth was admitted to the house and was following Reyes to a bedroom, investigators said, when Reyes made a dash towards a closet. The Police Chief attempted to stop him, but Reyes whirled, pointed a .22 caliber pistol at him and fired, hitting Mantoth in the abdomen and hip.
Mantoth, a former sergeant in the Tehachapi Police Department, was appointed to the Chief’s post by the City Council in April, 1958.