When Newark police arrested Dennis Bagwell after Tuesday, he declined to give a statement and never asked why he was arrested, according to police documents.
Instead, Bagwell only observed that the charges he could face must be “something pretty serious” based on how long he had been at the police department, according to the probable cause warrant for his arrest filed with Alameda County Superior Court.
Bagwell is of premeditated attempted murder and assault with a firearm. He's accused of shooting Robert Suplik, a U.S. Customs and Border protection agent, in front of Suplik's home on the 7700 block of Mayhews Landing.
And while it appears that the two struggled in the driveway, Suplik’s government-issued gun did not appear to have been fired, police said. Suplik was armed because he was in uniform and on his way to work.
Authorities have not released a direct motive, but documents suggest Bagwell may have had a “near obsession” with Suplik’s wife, Iyrna Smith, who was a student of his at the Bay Area Optical Schools in Union City.
Newark Cmdr. Tom Milner of the Newark Police Department last week didn't comment on between Bagwell and Smith, but Bagwell's daughter told officers she believed Bagwell "was trying to drive a wedge between the woman and her husband," according to the documents.
The following are bulleted highlights from the probable cause warrant. (Click the PDF at the right to read the document.)
About the crime scene and the victim:
- Police responded shortly before 6 a.m. to the 7700 block of Mayhews Landing and found Suplik lying in the driveway of his home suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.
- At the time of the shooting, Suplik was in full U.S. Customs and Border Protection uniform, which included a duty belt with a firearm and a uniform shirt covered by an unmarked civilian jacket.
- An officer who rode in an ambulance with Suplik asked him if he knew who shot him. Suplik said “Dennis” six separate times and that “Dennis” was an instructor. Suplik also mentioned Bay Area Optical Schools “several times.”
- The accompanying officer, who is a Newark Police Department range master, checked Suplik’s firearm and said “the gun did not appear to have been fired.” The firearm’s chambered round and magazine was full.
- Back at the scene, investigating officers interviewed neighbors who reported the following:
- Gunshots were heard and were followed by a pause and then several more gunshots.
- A man with a limp was seen walking or running from the home and got into a white car described as either a Toyota or Honda.
- A surveillance video recorded a white vehicle near the residence shortly before the shooting.
- Officers with the police department’s Criminal Evidence Response Team did not find shell casings, implying the weapon could be a revolver. A CERT member identified a bullet hole in a neighboring car that appeared it could be from a .22 caliber weapon.
About the victim’s wife:
- An officer who responded to Eden Medical Center talked with Smith and her daughter. Smith identified Bagwell after police mentioned “Dennis” and she said:
- Bagwell tried to pursue an intimate relationship with her that she rejected.
- She remained polite and sometimes communicated with Bagwell on her cell phone and through text messages.
- Bagwell “behaved erratically” and she recently saw him “lurking in the bushes” near her home.
- Suplik confronted Bagwell about his actions and told Bagwell to leave Smith alone.
- She last talked with Bagwell on Friday, Feb. 3.
- Bagwell’s limp comes from having suffered from polio as a youth.
- Smith identified the discarded jacket found at the scene as a jacket she had seen Bagwell wear in class.
- She and her daughter said they know Bagwell drives a green pick-up truck, which Smith said she saw near her home five hours before the shooting.
- Smith then gave officers Bagwell’s contact information from his business card, which lists his cell phone number.
About the suspected gunman:
- Police found two listed addresses for Bagwell, one on the 35000 block of Sellers Court in Fremont and another on Linda Avenue in Piedmont.
- At the Fremont home, they learned Bagwell’s estranged wife drives a white 2005 Toyota Corolla. His wife later said the two are separated but “are amicable” and have copies of the keys for each other’s car.
- Bagwell was located and arrested around 11:20 a.m. Tuesday in Union City.
- Both his and his wife’s cars were towed for evidence processing.
- Bagwell’s clothing was seized and an officer noted a possible blood stain on the back of Bagwell’s T-shirt. The stain was tested and the results of the Hemident test came out positive for blood.
- Officers report that Bagwell invoked his rights and did not provide a statement and was “very melancholy” during their contact with him. He did not question why he was arrested or what charges he would face.
- Search warrants were served at the Fremont and Piedmont residences and at the Bay Area Optical Schools.
- In Fremont, agents found a piece of paper with Smith’s name and address, other documents related to her and several photos of her. They seized one Ruger .22 revolver, a box of .22 caliber bullets and 25 additional hollow point bullets.
- In Union City, they only found documents of Smith that are “normal for the school to keep in their records.”
- In Piedmont, authorities took five boxes of ammunition, including a .22 caliber long rifle and .22 short H.V. rimfire types.
- A search of Bagwell’s cell phone found “significant text and call activity” between Bagwell and Smith and numerous photos of Smith – several that showed her alone and one that included Smith and her husband.
What the suspect’s relatives told officers:
- Bagwell’s wife said she last saw her Toyota Corolla around 11:30 p.m. Monday, but she believed Bagwell might have been in it sometime overnight because she found several flashlights that he repaired for her in the car around 7:45 a.m. Tuesday that were not there the night before.
- Family members of Bagwell’s said he had talked about going into business with a woman in Newark and that Smith’s description was similar to that of the woman he spoke of.
- Bagwell’s daughter told officers “she believed her father had fantasized and fabricated an imaginary relationship with this woman and was trying to drive a wedge between the woman and her husband.”
Bagwell appeared in court Thursday and Friday. Family members declined to speak with media.
He is scheduled to appear in court to enter a plea at 9 a.m. on Feb. 29 at the Fremont Hall of Justice.
Information provided by a County of Alameda Daily Declaration and Determination Probable Cause for Warrantless Arrest, prepared by Officer Dan Anderson of the Newark Police Department.