Video reveals chaotic Beaumont shooting as officials race to save officer crushed underneath overturned vehicle
BEAUMONT, Calif., — Newly released video footage of a deadly officer and deputy-involved shooting that occurred in Beaumont last December is helping to shed light on the circumstances that led to the death of a wanted felon. The video also showed the simultaneous and heroic rescue of an officer – amidst heavy gunfire – who was left trapped and injured underneath an overturned vehicle.
The newly released footage, which was part of a Critical Incident Review issued yesterday by the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, included bodycam footage from the perspective of multiple patrol deputies and officers from the four involved agencies as well as from a Sheriff’s helicopter that was circling overhead as the situation unfolded and gunfire erupted.
LEADING THE RCNS HEADLINES:
As reported by RCNS the night of the deadly incident, deputies from the Perris Sheriff’s Station began searching for 44-year-old, Dennis McHugh, of Glendora, after investigating a domestic violence dispute in the 17000 block of Ridge Canyon Drive in Woodcrest on Thursday evening, Dec. 30.
Although deputies confirmed a domestic violence attack had occurred, McHugh had already fled the scene and was not located that evening, Riverside Sheriff’s Sergeant Brandi Swan reported at the time.
44-year-old Dennis McHugh, of Glendora, was killed in a hail of gunfire last December, when he began ramming citizens’ and officers’ vehicles in an attempt to elude arrest outside a Beaumont Del Taco. Riverside County Sheriff’s Department photo
In the Critical Incident Review, (which can be viewed in its entirety below), Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco explained that as their investigation was getting underway, deputies learned the alleged suspect had felony warrants out of Riverside and Los Angeles counties for assault with a deadly weapon, domestic violence, kidnapping, vandalism, and other charges. He was also wanted for a domestic violence-related restraining order violation.
Bianco went on to explain that early the next morning, at around 1:07 a.m. on Dec. 31, a Sheriff’s Aviation Crew spotted McHugh’s Dodge Ram pickup truck in the drive-thru of a Beaumont area Del Taco, located in the 400 block of E. 4th Street.
With the Aviation Crew keeping an eye on McHugh’s pickup from overhead, deputies from the Hemet Sheriff’s Station, along with officers from the California Highway Patrol as well as Banning and Beaumont police departments, began converging on the scene.
Bodycam and helicopter FLIR footage released in the Critical Incident Review showed that the situation quickly escalated and spiraled out of control when officials with their guns drawn attempted to make contact with McHugh, as he sat in the fast-food restaurant’s drive-thru.
Despite being blocked in by a citizen’s sedan and several patrol vehicles to his front, and a line of vehicles with customers waiting to be served to his rear, McHugh refused to obey officials’ commands to exit his vehicle and he began repeatedly ramming the citizen’s cars and patrol vehicles in an attempt to flee the scene.
At one point as citizens fled from their stopped vehicles in terror in every direction, McHugh rammed a citizen’s car with so much force it was pushed through a steel railing, where it overturned down an embankment adjacent Hwy. 79/Beaumont Avenue.
A Banning officer, who found himself trapped between the steel railing and citizen’s car, was not able to get out of the struck car’s path and also tumbled down the embankment, where the overturning vehicle landed directly on top of him, leaving him trapped and injured underneath the car’s hood.
“We’ve got an officer down! Officer down!”
As the Critical Incident Review continued, a Beaumont officer can be heard issuing an emergency broadcast to all surrounding law enforcement agencies, calling out, “We’ve got an officer down! Officer down!”, just as the first of several volleys of gunfire erupts at the scene.
FLIR footage captured by the Sheriff’s helicopter then showed several officials running to the aid of the stricken and trapped officer as he screamed in agony for help – mere feet from the suspect’s pickup – even as gunshots continue to ring out for the next several tense moments.
Ignoring heavy gunfire all around them, FLIR footage captured by a Sheriff’s helicopter showed multiple officers running to the aid of a Banning police officer who was crushed underneath an overturned vehicle during last December’s deadly encounter with a wanted felon. Riverside County Sheriff’s Department – Critical Incident Review image
Although Bianco did not specify how many officials were directly involved in the shooting or how many rounds were fired during the deadly encounter, Press Enterprise and other media outlets throughout the region have since reported that “hundreds” of rounds were fired by at least a dozen or more officials during the ensuing incident.
Audio of the incident as captured by the officers’ and deputies’ bodycams appeared to confirm those claims, with several separate volleys of dozens of rounds heard being fired.
With McHugh’s attempts to flee ended and with the officer still trapped underneath the citizen’s overturned vehicle, a Sheriff’s armored tactical rescue vehicle was brought to the scene to facilitate the injured officer’s rescue.
After rescuing the injured officer, officials used the rescue vehicle as cover to approach McHugh’s truck, at which time they determined he had succumbed to his injuries and passed away at the scene.
The stricken officer was later rushed to an area hospital where he was treated for non-life-threatening injuries. He is expected to make a full recovery, according to Bianco.
SEE OTHER RECENT RCNS HEADLINE NEWS:
The suspect’s bullet-riddled Dodge Ram can be seen partway down an embankment after the wanted felon rammed several citizens’ and law enforcement officers’ vehicles, leaving an officer trapped and injured underneath an overturned vehicle. OnScene TV photo
The Riverside County District Attorney’s Office is leading the shooting investigation, aided by the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department Force Investigations Detail and their investigation is continuing.
Anyone with information regarding this incident is encouraged to contact Riverside County District Attorney Investigator Felipe Munoz at (951) 922-7624 or Riverside County Sheriff’s Investigator Dan Moody at (951) 955-2777. Callers can refer to incident file D213650002 can remain anonymous.
Riverside County Sheriff’s Critical Incident Review – Viewer Discretion Strongly Advised
Contact the writer: [email protected]
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.