Palm Desert deputy stabbed during violent encounter – Suspect arrested

PALM DESERT, Calif. — Authorities say a man who stabbed a Riverside County sheriff’s deputy was apprehended after a violent and bloody struggle in Palm Desert Tuesday afternoon, March 30.

Both the stabbed deputy and suspect, Christian Matthew Choi, 51, of La Quinta, were hospitalized after the armed encounter, which happened in the area El Paseo and Lupine Lane, near the 73-400 block of Highway 111. Choi is now facing attempted murder of a peace officer and other charges related to the incident.

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Deputies assigned to the Palm Desert Sheriff’s Station were dispatched to the area at 1:16 p.m. after receiving reports of a man who was assaulting customers at an unspecified business, Riverside Sheriff’s Sergeant Christopher Ternes later said of the incident and arrest.

When deputies arrived in the area they located a suspect matching the description provided by 911 callers and witnesses and attempted to contact the man, since identified as Choi.

Various items left at the scene of yesterday’s incident showed signs of a violent encounter, with person property and other items left scattered across the roadway, interspersed by official crime scene markers. KESQ News Channel 3 photo

When deputies contacted Choi, he was uncooperative and immediately began to fight with the deputies, according to Ternes.

During the ensuing melee, Choi “armed himself with a knife and stabbed one of the deputies in the leg,” Ternes described.

As the struggle continued, deputies attempted to use a Taser Electronic Control Device, which was ineffective and failed to stop Choi’s attack.

“The suspect raised the knife and tried to stab the same deputy again, but was unsuccessful and ultimately taken into custody,” said Ternes; adding, “The knife used by the suspect was recovered at the scene and booked into evidence at the Palm Desert Sheriff’s Station.”

The injured deputy sustained a non-life-threatening stab wound to the leg and is expected to make a full recovery.

After being treated and released at an area hospital, Choi was booked into the John Benoit Detention Center on five felony and five misdemeanor charges, including attempted murder of a peace officer.

Some of Choi’s listed charges included kidnapping, second-degree robbery, resisting arrest with violence, possession of tear gas, resisting or obstructing a peace officer, and various narcotics-related and other charges. It was not immediately clear if all the listed charges were related to this incident or other cases.

The Sheriff’s investigation is active and ongoing and officials have asked that anyone with information regarding this investigation or who obtained cell phone footage of the incident is encouraged to contact Investigator Chua at (760) 836-1600. Callers can refer to incident file number T210890113 and can remain anonymous.



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Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, 49, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source (RCNS) and Shasta County News Source (SCNS).

Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County-based newspapers Valley News, Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; the Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County; and Mountain Echo in Shasta County. He is also a regular contributor to Thin Blue Line TV and Law Enforcement News Network and has had his stories featured on news stations throughout the Southern California and North State regions.

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.

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