UPDATED: HEMET: Hours-long standoff ends in fatal officer-involved shooting, victim ID’d

Deputies from the Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team remove their gear after the hours-long stand-off and deadly shooting. John Strangis photo

UPDATE: 07/26/2016 1:15 a.m. With Coroner’s release of information

ORIGINAL STORY AT BOTTOM OF PAGE

 

HEMET – The Riverside County Coroner’s office has identified the man who was fatally shot by Riverside County Sheriff’s deputies and a CHP officer Sunday, July 24 as Robert Lourenco, 36, of Riverside.

According to Coroner officials, Lourenco was shot in the 26800 Block of Lawrence Court at 12:31 p.m. He was pronounced dead at the scene at 1:10 p.m.

 

UPDATE: 07/25/2016 11:00 a.m. With additional information from sheriff’s department

A deputy takes cover behind his vehicle during the incident. John Strangis photo

A deputy takes cover behind his vehicle during the incident. John Strangis photo

HEMET – More details are coming to light about yesterday’s fatal officer-involved shooting involving a man who was armed with a gun and what has been described as a hatchet or tomahawk.

The deadly shooting happened at a property on Lawrence Court in an unincorporated area of Hemet, west of the city of Hemet and northeast of Winchester.

The armed man died at the scene after being shot by several law enforcement officers from two different agencies, according to Riverside Sheriff’s Public Information Officer Deputy Michael Vasquez.

The deadly encounter began at about 10:30 a.m. when Riverside County emergency dispatchers received several 911 calls from citizens reporting seeing a man walking in a residential neighborhood armed with a firearm and hatchet. Callers told dispatchers the man was acting in a “bizarre and erratic manner” and they were concerned for their safety as well as the man’s condition.

Numerous patrol and official vehicles were seen surrounding the location where the deadly shooting occurred. John Strangis photo

Numerous patrol and official vehicles were seen surrounding the location where the deadly shooting occurred. John Strangis photo

Deputies from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Perris Station responded to the area to search for the man. Officers from Californa Highway Patrol also responded to assist in locating the subject.

Officials located the man near the area of Lawrence Court and Stetson Avenue. When they tried to contact the man, he ran away from them, hiding amongst trees and homes in the area. Officers and deputies confirmed the man was still armed with the gun and a hatchet.

Deputies from several surrounding stations, including Perris, Menifee, and Moreno Valley and officers from CHP and Hemet Police Department spent several hours trying to speak with the armed man and calm his erratic behavior, as they attempted to negotiate a peaceful resolution.

A sheriff's helicopter circled the scene for hours, using their PA system to make announcements to the suspect to put down his weapons and come to officials. John Strangis photo

A sheriff’s helicopter circled the scene for hours, using their PA system to make announcements to the suspect to put down his weapons and come to officials. John Strangis photo

While the incident was occurring a sheriff’s helicopter continuously circled the area, providing guidance to incoming officials and updating them about the suspect’s constant movements between buildings, vehicles, and properties.

Members of the Aviation Crew also used their public address system to tell the man to put the hatchet and handgun down. They could also be heard telling the man to come out to deputies.

“The suspect refused to relinquish his weapons or surrender,” Vasquez explained. At times, the man charged at officers and deputies while still armed with the two weapons, only to retreat and hide behind trees, shrubbery, buildings, and vehicles.

Due to the man’s highly erratic behavior deputies at the scene requested assistance from additional deputies from the surrounding area and officers from Hemet Police Department. Two Bearcat armored rescue vehicles also were sent to the location to assist in taking the man into custody.

CHP and Hemet Police officers assisted during the hours long stand-off. John Strangis photo

CHP and Hemet Police officers assisted during the hours long stand-off. John Strangis photo

Despite their efforts at peacefully resolving the incident “negotiations failed when the male pointed a gun in the officers’ direction and an officer-involved shooting occurred,” Vasquez explained.

After he was struck by gunfire and down on the ground, the man was still in possession of his weapons and was seen moving about.

Due to the man’s previous behavior and the danger to deputies and officers, officials decided to wait for the arrival of the armored rescue vehicles before approaching the subject.

Once officials were able to safely approach the man, they quickly determined he succumbed to his injuries,” Vasquez said. The subject was pronounced dead at the scene.”

The man’s name has not be released pending notification of his family.

“Deputies from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, and an officer from the California Highway Patrol have been placed on administrative leave per their Departments’ policies,” according to Vasquez.

Two Bearcat armored vehicles responded to the scene of the fatal shooting. John Strangis photo

Two Bearcat armored vehicles responded to the scene of the fatal shooting. John Strangis photo

The involved officers’ names have not been released.

Investigators from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Central Homicide Unit responded and assumed the investigation.

Family members of the man who was killed in the shooting have claimed the gun the man had been waving was not real, calling it a “toy.”

Sheriff’s officials have not commented regarding whether the gun the man was holding and repeatedly pointed at officials was a real gun or not; citing their active and ongoing investigation.

Anyone with information regarding the fatal shooting is encouraged to contact Central Homicide Unit Investigator Dean at (951) 955-2777 or Investigator Pico at (951) 210-1000 from the Perris Station. Callers can refer to incident file number PC162060029 and can remain anonymous. Citizens may also submit a tip using the Sheriff’s CrimeTips online form.

Fire and paramedic personnel were on scene during the incident. John Strangis photo

Fire and paramedic personnel were on scene during the incident. John Strangis photo

A nearby building was struck by a round during the fatal shooting. John Strangis photo

A nearby building was struck by a round during the fatal shooting. John Strangis photo

Fire and paramedic personnel were on scene during the incident. John Strangis photo

Fire and paramedic personnel were on scene during the incident. John Strangis photo

 

ORIGINAL STORY

WINCHESTER – Very few details are known following a fatal officer-involved shooting that occurred in the unincorporated community of Winchester, west of Hemet earlier today, Sunday, July 24. The deadly shooting occurred in the area of California and Stetson Avenues.

The fatal shooting incident followed an hours-long standoff between a subject who was reportedly armed with a handgun and a tomahawk and numerous officers and deputies from multiple agencies and sheriff’s stations, including the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, California Highway Patrol, and Hemet Police Department.

The person who was fatally shot has only been described as an adult male.

It was not immediately known how the incident began, how many officers fired their weapons, how many rounds were fired, or if the suspect fired his weapon.

The crime scene is still very active and a sheriff’s command post has been established nearby at an undisclosed location.

Investigators from the Sheriff’s Central Homicide Unit have responded to assume the investigation and forensic investigators have been summoned to the scene to collect and document evidence at the location.

A press release is expected to be issued by the Riverside County Sheriff’s department at a later time.

 

This is a developing story. Updates will be provided as they become available.

 

Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

trevor main

15 comments

  • Boy, we sure have been making a name for ourselves out here, and for all the wrong reasons. I can remember when I had never even heard the name “Hemet”. We need to turn things around. There are still some good people out here.

  • I hope this is not the 911 call I made this morning at 10:30am…

  • If the city would stop importing criminals might be a good start

  • This person did not have a real gun. He had a toy that was a collector that he had in his pocket. He was not a threat to anyone in any way. He was going through a tough time in his life and was trying to get back on his feet again. He had the dagger because he loved to throw it at trees for fun. i can understand that it may have looked a lil awkward to see someone you don’t know walking down the road throwing a dagger at trees but that DOES NOT give the police a right to fire on him without knowing for a fact that he was a threat! Protect and serve used to be the motto when referring to an officer of the law! Now it seems that they have the right to take a life of an innocent man and claim they have just cause. This man was a father, a brother, a son, and someone whom I loved dearly. He would have gave his last dollar to help anyone. Lost maybe? Loved completely!

    • Jaci, I understand your frustration and questions, especially if the man who was fatally shot was a family member of yours. I listened to this call from the very beginning until the very end. There were numerous people who called 911 about the gentleman walking through the neighborhood while acting in an extremely bizarre and erratic manner. He was seen by many citizens, officers, and deputies pointing a handgun, real or not, both at citizens and at law enforcement officials.

      During the hours-long incident, he refused to cooperate with officials, refused to put down either of the objects he had and ran from tree to tree, hiding in bushes and behind vehicles, houses, and outbuildings. He also charged at multiple officers several times while still armed with the two objects.

      Whether or not the gun was real, I do not yet know. But I can tell you that the officers and deputies at the scene definitely thought the handgun was real. There was no doubt about that.

      He was finally shot, several hours after the incident began, after he once again ran towards officials while pointing the handgun/”toy” at them. The officers used an enormous amount of restraint while trying to convince him to drop the two objects and submit to their orders and commands. Officials spent several hours reasoning with him and trying to bring this incident to a peaceful resolution. This was not a matter where the officers just showed up and shot the man. This went on for hours. Officials even attempted to talk to the man over their PA’s and attempted reasoning with him using the sheriff’s helicopter.

      Unfortunately, for reasons we will probably never understand, he chose not to listen. He was finally shot after once again running towards the deputies while pointing the handgun at the officials and waving the hatchet, which resulted in his fatal shooting.

      I truly hope you can find peace with this terrible situation and if he was a family member of yours or someone you cared about, you have my sympathy and deepest condolences. I am about to publish an update to my report with more facts about the incident. I am just waiting for some last details and then I will be publishing the updated story.

      Again, I am sorry for your loss.

      -TM

      • Alan Jacoby for Gail Lourenco-Jacoby

        Trevor, Did you ever ask any of the officers why a Professional Negotiator from any of the agencies was never called out to this shooting and how would a person (relative of the deceased) go about getting a copy of any video that was taken of this shooting. Surely with all the law enforcement including the helicopter that was present at this event, there has to be video of what lead up to these final moments before and during the shooting.. The mother of the deceased man needs to know..

        • I listened to this call live on the radio and as I recall a member of the department’s HNT (Hostage Negotiations Team) was called out and was either en route to the scene or had just arrived at the location when the shooting happened.

          I know this is hard to accept, but I can assure you the deputies on scene made every effort to bring this incident to a peaceful conclusion and used an enormous amount of restraint and professionalism in the hours leading to the shooting. There were countless times when the deputies could have legally and justifiably engaged the suspect before the moment they actually did. There were numerous times when the suspect charged directly towards authorities while still holding the “weapons” in his hands, yet time after time the deputies pulled back and chose NOT to shoot, while trying to talk to the man and diffuse the situation.

          As for video of the incident, a local community reporter named John Strangis (strangisjohn.com) was on scene and I believe he got video from the scene, although not of the actual shooting.

          Whether or not there was any “official” video recording of the incident I couldn’t tell you. You would have to seek that from the investigating agency.

          Best wishes to you and the grieving family.

          -TM

    • When you are asked to surrender and you do not then you deserve what you get. These police officers have a family to go home too.

      • I was a friend of Roberts and He was harmless, Just down on his luck. He was in no way a violent man and always tried to resolve problems amongst his friends. Even though he didn’t have much as of late he was always the first to offer the shirt off his back to help anyone. This is a horrible tragedy and my thoughts go out to his family. I am sorry for your loss . He was a good friend to me and he will be missed dearly. By the way , He had family and friends and a son as well. Bet you would be singing a different tune if it was your son …

    • I was a friend of Roberts and He was harmless, Just down on his luck. He was in no way a violent man and always tried to resolve problems amongst his friends. Even though he didn’t have much as of late he was always the first to offer the shirt off his back to help anyone. This is a horrible tragedy and my thoughts go out to his family. I am sorry for your loss . He was a good friend to me and he will be missed dearly.

  • Ya know Hemet is not a huge metropolitan area. When they say they talked or “negotiated” for over two hours with him, they obviously didn’t have a Real, Professional negotiator , or they would have at least got a name..5 minutes later either his Mom or Dad or X-wife would have been there to talk him out..AND for some reason between the CHP, Riverside Sheriff and the Hemet Police , they first tell us ALL the dash cams were aimed in the wrong direction and not a single office had a body camera on them.. If it was your son, you’d want to know the facts of what happened !

    • Alan, I’m sorry, but you live in fairy tale land. Efforts were made to communicate with the individual for a couple hours. Although a very sad tragedy, as any loss of life is, he chose to raise that weapon towards law enforcement. Have you ever stopped to think about what those officers have to face for the rest of their lives. That man forced those officers to do something I’ll bet they hoped would never happen in their career. No one, except for a heartless thug of a killer wakes up and hopes to take a human life. That officer has to face him or herself, their families and their friends and live with that. And why?? Because someone put them in that situation. Just stop for a moment and think about that, Please!!

      • Exactly- I am a former Officer in Detroit – I can assure that that man would not have lasted that long in the big city where Officers are faced with life and death situations every day. He chose to charge at the Officers with weapons in his hands more than once- These Officers are to be commended for their restraint. They have families to go home to also.

      • No matter what any of you have to say, If the shooting was warranted , and everything was done as they say, then why not release any video & or audio to the family or someone the family trusts to see it??? Fairy tale land?? My son is a Sheriff , here in Tn, and a professional negotiator . He has had hundreds of encounters and has never lost a subject, NEVER.. And even in “Backwards Tennessee” Body cameras as well as dash cams are every where and he even says with ALL the armed forces of ALL the officers, including the helicopter flying over head, the chances that nobody has a video is ridiculous !! The worst thing about what has happened with Robert’s family is all the lies that the officers are telling them. Everything from they returned fire at Robert after he shot at them with a toy starter pistol…RIDICULOUS ! AND A LIE! to when they first say there were no videos of any of the events that took place and then say later that there is video but that they never got any views of Robert… ( after talking with him for hours??) Really?? J K , if you can’t see any kind of “cover your partner’s ass” as well as every one of all those who shot Robert what we understand was 17 times, then You are definitely living in that FAIRY TALE LAND you talk about and God help you if you or one of your family members get blown away some day for one reason or another.

  • I know Robert, and the people who knew him will all say the same thing “he is not a violent man”. WHY WASN’T HIS FATHER CALLED DURING THOSE TWO HOURS? The officers knew who he was and it saddens me that these trigger happy cops shoot before they get the facts on the suspect. I can see them now patting each other on the backs, so proud of themselves. SHAME ON YOU COPS.. YOU DON’T DESERVE THE NAME OFFICERS.. YOU COPS BEEN GETTING AWAY WITH A LOT OFF STUFF AND YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE. REMEMBER YOU MAY BELIEVE YOU ARE ABOVE THE LAW… YOU ALSO WILL BE JUDGE ONE DAY.

Leave a Reply