One person is dead after an officer-involved shooting and a subsequent standoff near a major highway in Hemet, sheriff’s officials say.
The standoff ended shortly before 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 12, near Cawston and Acacia avenues, just south of Florida Avenue, which is also known as Hwy. 74.
“We have one deceased male,” Deputy Armando Munoz confirmed. “No officers were injured.”
The incident began about 4:45 p.m. when a sheriff’s deputy reported that shots had been fired and then radioed for help. Soon, the area was surrounded by deputies and city police.
Within minutes, the officer reported that a suspect was inside a vehicle, refusing to surrender or show his hands.
At least one armored car and a police sniper were assigned to the incident.
Apparently surveying the scene through telescopes, deputies reported that the vehicle’s occupant was slumped over but appeared to be moving slightly.
Acacia Avenue — just south of Florida Avenue — was cordoned off west of Sanderson Avenue.
Details of the shooting were sketchy. But a deputy did open fire during the confrontation, sheriff’s spokesman Deputy Mike Vasquez confirmed as the standoff progressed.
About 100 yards from the standoff, Motel 6 desk clerk Michelle Smith said she heard about a dozen gunshots when she went outside to help a guest.
Police vehicles and helicopters arrived within minutes, she said.
Smith was told to keep all guests locked inside, she said.
Another witness, Cyndi Coelho, manager at a Marie Callender’s restaurant where a back window faced the confrontation, said officers had their guns pointed at a small pickup truck and at least one occupant.
The pickup truck was parked beside the road in front of a solar field along Acacia Avenue, Coelho said. Restaurant customers had not been asked to remain in the business, but they were told they couldn’t return to their vehicles in the back parking lot that faces the scene.
BY RICHARD BROOKS, CRAIG SHULTZ AND RICHARD MONTENEGRO BROWN