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Decision due today on charges in shootout

November 27, 2001|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

County Sheriff's Office investigators were expected to meet today with district attorney's officials to discuss the case of five men arrested on suspicion of attempted murder in the Imperial Sand Dunes.

The five were reportedly involved in a gun battle Saturday between people from two camp sites, a battle that left a man wounded.

The shootout, according to sheriff's reports, stemmed from an argument over a motorcycle.

County Sheriff's Investigator Gabe Vela said the decision on whether to charge the five with attempted murder must be made today and will be based on discussions with the DA's Office.

The five arrested were Glenn Howard Baker, 31, of Placentia, George Anthony Falkenstein, 23, of Hesperia, his brother, Timothy Allen Falkenstein, 25, of Orange, Timothy Shawn O'Brien, 22, of Hesperia, and Jay Tennesen Ollestad, 23, of Placentia.

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Vela, who declined to release all the details about the case because the investigation is ongoing, alleged it has been determined at least one of the five fired shots from a handgun. He alleged there may have been more from the group who took part in the shooting.

The shootout left Arvel Reeves, 66, of Mesa, Ariz. wounded. He was airlifted to a San Diego hospital. Information on his condition was unavailable this morning.

According to Vela, the dispute started when a man from one camp drove into the second camp on a quad and asked to borrow a motorcycle.

He left with the motorcycle and then returned on foot to pick up the quad.

Those in the second camp refused to release the quad until the motorcycle was returned. The man went back to his camp and a group of five men returned to the second camp site to get the quad, Vela said.

An argument ensued and guns were drawn. According to reports, at least one person from each camp brandished a handgun and fired shots.

Reeves, a member of the second camp, was the only one wounded.

Three of the five suspects were taken into custody shortly after authorities arrived. One other was arrested later that evening. The fifth, George Falkenstein, turned himself in to the county Sheriff's Office Brawley sub-station Sunday.

Ollestad posted the $100,000 bail and was released from custody. The others remained in jail on $100,00 bail each. No one from Reeves' camp was arrested, Vela said.

>>Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.

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