Officials seek witnesses, videos after Hemet murder

HEMET, Calif. — Authorities say a murder investigation is underway after a man’s lifeless body was discovered in the Carmalita Center parking lot across the street from a bar, near the intersection of Florida Avenue and Carmalita Street, early Monday morning, Dec. 28.


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The investigation began around 1 a.m., after a City of Hemet police officer was flagged down by a citizen reporting a man down in the area, Hemet Police Lieutenant Nate Miller later said of the ongoing investigation.

After locating the man’s body medical aid was summoned; however, the victim was ultimately pronounced deceased at the scene.

Alerted by a citizen of a man’s lifeless body found in the Carmalita Center parking lot, officials discovered a man with traumatic injuries who was pronounced deceased at the scene. Witnesses have said the man was fatally stabbed. John Strangis/EN Media-Hemet News photo

The man, “who was only 31-years-old … died of traumatic injuries,” Miller said, while not disclosing any further information about the victim.

“His death is being handled as a homicide,” Miller continued; adding, “His name is not being released pending notification of family.”

While officers cordoned off the area and began interviewing potential witnesses, investigators were summoned to the scene and later assumed the investigation.

As officials were working at the scene, one woman could be heard screaming and crying inconsolably while another woman held and attempted to calm and comfort her.

“That was my baby! My God! No! No! No!” the pajama-clad woman could be heard screaming as the second woman tried walking her away from the scene where the victim’s body lay.

During their subsequent investigation, officials learned that a fight involving several patrons had taken place about 40 minutes earlier outside of Chappies, a bar at the same intersection where the victim’s body was discovered.

“At this early point in the investigation, detectives do not yet know if he had been involved in the earlier altercation,” said Miller.

An officer searches for evidence near where a man’s body was discovered next to a small wall in the Carmalita Center parking lot. The body was found directly across the street from Chappies bar, where a large fight reportedly occurred in the intersection about 40 minutes earlier. John Strangis/EN Media-Hemet News photo

Several witness later reported from the scene that the man died from stabbing-related injuries, but Hemet PD has not yet verified the victim’s manner of death.

While detectives processed the scene for evidence, the eastbound lanes of Florida Avenue were closed between Harvard and Juanita streets. The roadway was reopened several hours later.


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Investigators are asking anyone who has dash-cam video from driving through the area or mobile phone video of an altercation that took place in the intersection between 12:15 a.m. and 1 a.m. on Monday morning (Sunday night) to contact Hemet Police Investigator Doug Klinzing at (951) 765-2400 or by email. Anonymous tips and videos are always accepted.

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

Click any image to open full-size gallery.

John Strangis/EN Media-Hemet News photos above, video below.

Robert Carter/Public Safety Incidents video above.

Hemet crime Society video above.

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Contact the writer:

Trevor Montgomery, 49, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, (the now defunct) Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and Mountain Echo in Shasta 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. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s 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 30 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 18 grandchildren.