New Mesa Police Chief George Gascón’s office was empty Tuesday, but his first day on the job was full. The 52-year-old Gascón attended his first department manager’s meeting and then hustled out to a SWAT call where a man was threatening to commit suicide by blowing up his trailer with natural gas.
“I just wanted to get a feel for the call,” said Gascón, who left a job as an assistant chief in Los Angeles for the Mesa post.
Gascón vowed the department would seek prosecution of the man.
The rest of the day was filled with meetings and introductions.
On the last days of his job in Los Angeles, Gascón faced the possibility he would step into the middle of a massive Valley manhunt for a serial shooter who gunned down pedestrians and bicyclists late at night on major thoroughfares. The last two of 37 possible incidents occurred in Mesa.
A Valleywide task force arrested Dale S. Hausner, 33, and Samuel J. Dieteman, 30, in a Mesa apartment Thursday. The men were formally charged Tuesday with two counts of first-degree murder and 14 counts of attempted first-degree murder and 16 counts of drive-by shooting.
“I got really lucky,” Gascón said. “They wanted to make sure I had a clean slate.”