Phoenix police staked out the Montes home some 13 hours before a home invasion in which Enrique Montes, right, was shot to death. (Source: Montes family)
'Why wasn't somebody posted here? You know, watching the house, watching what was going on,' said Carol Montes, the widow of Enrique Montes. (Source: CBS 5 News)
Enrique 'Henry' Montes. (Source: Montes family)
PHOENIX (CBS5) -
Three people have been arrested for the deadly home invasion that claimed the life of Enrique "Henry" Montes, but his widow and other family members question whether the murder of the 59-year-old Vietnam veteran could have been prevented.
The Montes family claims Phoenix police knew, through a confidential informant, that the home invasion was going to go down, and they did nothing to protect them.
"Why wasn't somebody posted here? You know, watching the house, watching what was going on," said Carol Montes, the victim's wife.
According the Montes family, Phoenix police came to the home the couple shares with several of their adult grandchildren the morning of Sept. 30. A picture snapped by one of the grandkids shows uniformed police and plainclothes detectives outside the home some 13 hours before the home invasion took place. Montes said the officers questioned every member of the family.
When the questioning was over, Montes said her husband gave the officer permission to search their home. They found nothing illegal and nothing that home invaders might target.
That's when Montes said police told them that a confidential informant said the Montes home would be the target of a home invasion. Police suggested to the family that they stay somewhere else.
Montes said the family members just looked at each other and asked police if they were serious. They said they were.
"None of us thought that, you know, it was something that was serious because if it was, I wouldn't … none of us would have been home that night," Montes said. "I felt they were more trying to investigate us - not really informing us that you are a target, you know, serious."
Sources said that undercover officers staked out the Montes house the night before the home invasion based on the information from the informant. And when nothing happened, that's when they decided to approach the family.
"They didn't offer us any protection, none of us. They didn't say, 'You guys know this is serious and you need to leave.' Or, 'We'll post somebody here,' or 'We'll have somebody patrol,'" Montes said.
She confirmed police suggested that they may want to leave.
But Montes said her family was never told their home had been under surveillance the night before, something that would've made them take police seriously.
So the family stayed that night. According to sources, the officers who were sitting at the house the night before did not return that deadly night. Instead, detectives staked out suspects they believed were the one that were going to hit the Montes house. It turns out those suspects did not take part in the hit, and the Montes house was left uncovered.
Despite repeated requests, Phoenix police would not answer questions about the case. But they did issue the following written statement:
"The Phoenix Police Department is committed to the safety and protection of every member of our community. When the department became aware of possible criminal acts against the Montes family, immediate steps were taken to help them prevent this from occurring. Detectives from the Phoenix Police Department met with the Montes family and provided them with personal safety recommendations. The Phoenix Police Department made multiple arrests today in relation to this case. We will continue to aggressively investigate this crime and hold those responsible accountable."
Montes said she is considering legal action against the city.
As for the three men charged in connection with the death of her husband, Montes said, "I want justice and Henry deserves justice. He served our country. He was a good man. He didn't do anything to anybody. They didn't have no reason to take his life."
Her husband was buried with full military honors at the Arizona Veteran's Memorial Cemetery.
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