Quick thinking led authorities to capture homicide suspect Joseph Ward, Carson City sheriff says | RecordCourier.com

Quick thinking led authorities to capture homicide suspect Joseph Ward, Carson City sheriff says

by Alan Riquelmy
Grass Valley Union

The capture of Joseph Ward, a suspect in last week’s homicide of Kenneth Pestana, could have gone much differently, authorities said.

Some 30 officers waited Thursday evening outside a Carson City apartment where, moments later, they arrested Ward. They needed a search warrant before they could enter the home where they believed he sheltered, Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong said Monday.

“We were setting up in anticipation of him getting in the car and obviously driving away,” Furlong added. “The teams were setting up plans for what to do.”

And then, around 6:40 p.m. Thursday, the 31-year-old Ward stepped outside with a pit bull. The plan changed immediately, authorities said.

“They grabbed the opportunity right then and there before he got to the car,” Furlong said.

Authorities said that Ward released the dog onto officers, leading to the animal’s fatal shooting. They then arrested Ward.

“It was anticipated to be a much more complicated situation,” Furlong said.

Some of Ward’s family was in the area and grew emotional, though the overwhelming police presence ensured nothing occurred, the sheriff said.

According to Furlong, Nevada County authorities returned Monday to Carson City to continue collecting evidence. Furlong’s office still has a blue, compact car authorities have said was stolen from Pestana, 61.

That missing car and a dog are what led authorities last week to Ward.

Authorities said they discovered Pestana dead late Wednesday in his Nevada County home. A car and a dog were missing.

Furlong said that Nevada County authorities first approached Douglas County, Nevada, where Ward once lived. Officers then traveled to Carson City, spotting the missing car outside the apartment of Ward’s mother.

Already a person of interest in Pestana’s death, Ward then was considered a suspect, authorities have said.

Ward remained Monday night in the Carson City Jail, reports state.

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email ariquelmy@theunion.com or call 530-477-4239.