Although shot multiple times, deputy returns fire killing armed suspect in Coachella

COACHELLA, Calif., — A Riverside County sheriff’s deputy is continuing to recover today after he was shot multiple times at the end of a Coachella foot pursuit that turned into a fight for survival last night, Friday, Jan. 28. Although he was struck in the chest and injured, the deputy managed to return fire, killing the suspected gunman.

The deadly shooting happened in a residential neighborhood in the 85000 block of Cairo Street, after the alleged suspect fled from a traffic enforcement stop at a gas station about a block away, in the area of Cesar Chavez Street and Avenue 52, according to officials.


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Last night’s fatal encounter began around 6:35 p.m., when a pair of deputies from the Thermal Sheriff’s Station conducted a traffic enforcement stop of a dark-colored SUV, Riverside Sheriff’s Sergeant Brandi Swan has since said.

Upon coming to a stop at a Fastrip gas station and convenience store, a male passenger fled from the vehicle on foot, and one of the deputies gave chase while the other detained the driver of the vehicle.

Officials are seen collecting evidence at a gas station where a passenger fled from a traffic stop. The man was fatally shot moments later after shooting a deputy multiple times during an ensuing struggle. NBC Palm Springs photo

“After a foot pursuit into a residential neighborhood, a physical altercation occurred between the deputy and the suspect,” Swan explained; adding, “During the altercation, the suspect shot the deputy causing injury.”

“Although the deputy was injured, the deputy was able to return fire,” Swan continued.

Struck by the deputy’s gunfire, the suspect was pronounced deceased at the scene, while the deputy was rushed to an area hospital for treatment of “multiple gunshot wounds,” the Sergeant went on to say.

“One of the suspect’s rounds struck the deputy in the chest and the ballistic vest absorbed the impact of that projectile and prevented the deputy from sustaining any major injury,” she continued.

The deputy’s injuries were not considered life-threatening, and he is expected to recover. He has been placed on paid leave according to Department policy and his name has not been released.

Likewise, the identity of the suspect has not yet been released, pending further investigation and notification of his family.

The driver of the involved vehicle is cooperating with the investigation, according to Swan, who said the suspect’s gun was recovered at the scene and that there are no outstanding suspects related to last night’s deadly incident. 

An investigator from the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office will lead this investigation, aided by the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department Force Investigations Detail.

Their investigation is active and ongoing.


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Anyone with information regarding this incident is encouraged to contact Riverside County District Attorney Investigator Mario Moreno at (951) 955-9470 or Riverside County Sheriff’s Investigator Dan Moody at (760) 393-3525. Callers can refer to incident file number Y220280058 and can remain anonymous.

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

Contact the writer:

Trevor Montgomery, 50, 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.