Bryant Phillip Islas, Gang Banger on Parole, Walks Away from Prison Rehab and Tries to Kill a Guy

Categories: Crime-iny
A parolee who was supposedly under the watch of a Garden Grove rehab center obviously wasn't on Aug. 31, according to Santa Ana police officials who have linked 28-year-old Bryant Phillip Islas to the attempted murder of a man heading to Taco Bell for lunch that day. Islas is accused of walking away from the Cactus Garden substance abuse program the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) sent him to, jumping into a vehicle with two gang pals and participating in pumping at least six bullets in the chest of the 23-year-old gang rival on a break from a nearby continuation school on Bristol Street. The victim nearly died twice at the hospital but is now recovering.

Investigators quickly determined Islas was one of the participants in the shooting and arrested him on Oct. 7. He pleaded not guilty last week to attempted murder, street terrorism and assault with a firearm, with a sentencing enhancement for gang activity.

Meanwhile, Santa Ana Police Gang Unit officers are scratching their heads over how Islas apparently walked away while under the watch of the CDCR, Cactus Garden and his parole officer. Upon closer inspection, they learned he had left the facility without permission for eight hours the day of the shooting and again the day after. Besides trying to kill a guy, Islas is suspected of doing drugs during his unauthorized absences from the rehab.

Cactus Garden officials claim each parolee is closely watched by a case worker and any infractions are reported to his parole officer. Nonetheless, CDCR officials have removed seven other parolees from the program as a safety precaution. "CDCR is very concerned about what has happened and the actions and inactions of the staff at that facility," Corrections spokesman Luis Patino reportedly said.

Islas' two cohorts remain at large, and a $50,000 reward has been offered for information leading to their arrests and convictions. Anyone with information is asked to contact the gang unit at 714.245.8648.

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