RANCHO CUCAMONGA: Sheriff’s Sgt., stabbed in face and shoulder, in critical but stable condition

RANCH CUCAMONGA — A San Bernardino County Sheriff’s sergeant who was stabbed and slashed during a violent struggle with a knife-wielding man, Monday morning, Oct. 30, is in critical but stable condition. After being stabbed, the Sgt. opened fire at her assailant. The man was not struck by the fired rounds and he was later taken into custody, according to San Bernardino County Sheriff’s officials.

During their investigation, authorities recovered a knife they say a man used to stab and slash a sergeant who had been dispatched to check the man’s welfare.

The incident happened shortly after 9 a.m., while the sergeant – a seasoned, 26-year veteran of the sheriff’s department – was checking on the man’s welfare in the parking lot outside a Rancho Cucamonga Hobby Lobby at the Tierra Vista Town Center at 10600 E. Foothill Boulevard, directly across the street from the Rancho Cucamonga Superior Court.

In addition to Hobby Lobby, the shopping center features a number of other large retail stores, such as a Target, Big 5 Sporting Goods, AAA, L.A. Fitness and Michael’s. The shopping center is also home to about a half-dozen restaurants, including a Chili’s Grill and Bar and a Panera Bread.

The violent and bloody incident happened after a man, who authorities are still working to identify, called 911. While speaking with emergency dispatchers the man reportedly made statements leading officials to believe he might have needed a mental health evaluation.

“Our dispatch center received a 911 call from the subject who claimed he had been abducted and (was) making other statements that didn’t seem to be making sense,” San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon said during a press conference from the scene of the stabbing and shooting.

The sergeant was then dispatched to the shopping center to check on the man’s well-being. According to witnesses the man, who was reportedly wearing a robe and was highly agitated, was seen pacing back and forth in the parking lot.

After she arrived at the location, the sergeant located and contacted the man. A short time later the sergeant put out an emergency call for assistance, advising emergency dispatchers and other responding officers she had been stabbed and had discharged her weapon.

The sergeant’s radio call for help brought deputies and officers from multiple nearby agencies rushing to her aid from around the city and other surrounding areas.

“The sergeant was stabbed multiple times by the suspect,” McMahon explained. “She has multiple stab wounds and several lacerations.”

“She fired her weapon at the suspect a number of times in self-defense,” said McMahon

McMahon did not specify what might have led to the stabbing and said investigators were still trying to determine the exact timeline of events once the sergeant arrived at the scene.

The injured sergeant, whose name was not released, was flown to Loma Linda University Medical Center for treatment. According to officials, she is in critical but stable condition.

After the sergeant was airlifted and the suspect was taken into custody, various items, including a 5-6″ knife, pair of prescription glasses and several shell casings were seen strewn around a patrol SUV the sergeant had arrived in.

After the shooting, officials established a large crime scene around the area and parking lot where the incident happened. Many shoppers who were at the shopping center when the shooting happened found their vehicles trapped by crime scene tape and were unable to leave the location until interviewed as potential witnesses by officials investigating the incident.

One witness Tabitha Lara, who said it could have been her or anyone else the man attacked, told media at the scene she had seen the man just before the stabbing. She described him as seeming “angry and out of it.

Another witness Jonathan Schultz, who was conducting maintenance at the shopping center and witnessed part of the violent encounter, later told media at the scene that after he heard the first gunshot, he saw the suspect and sergeant struggling in the parking lot.

After the initial gunshot, I turned and they were rolling on the ground,” Schultz explained. “Apparently he had lunged at her with the knife.”

According to Schultz, after the sergeant fired the first round she lost her weapon during the struggle.

“He had the gun out of her hand and he lunged at her again. After that, he pushed her away and she reached down and got her gun back up and fired three more shots at him,” said Schultz.

It was not immediately known if the sergeant was able to recover her primary weapon or managed to pull a secondary, back-up weapon.

“I don’t know if he got her before the first shot or second shot, but he got her good,” Schultz explained. “He got her in the head and in the shoulder.”

Schultz described that the “whole front” of the sergeant’s uniform was covered with blood, as was the entire side of her face.

Schultz said that in spite of being critically injured during the violent encounter, the sergeant, “remained calm and kept her composure the entire time.”

“It’s a good reminder that the folks that our deputy sheriffs and law enforcement across this state and country encounter on occasion…are violent and are willing to attack our local law enforcement and first responders,” said McMahon.

Because of the shooting investigation, which was expected to last throughout the rest of the day and well into the evening, the Hobby Lobby was closed the rest of the day.

This is a developing story that will be updated as additional information becomes available.


Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

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Trevor Montgomery, who recently moved from Riverside County to Shasta County, runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for Riverside County based newspapers Valley News, The Valley Chronicle and Anza Valley Outlook as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident.

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations, including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center and Lake Elsinore Station, along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 27 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and has 13 children and 14 grandchildren.