MURRIETA: Suspect arrested after pursuit, officer-involved shooting

MURRIETA – Details are still emerging after Murrieta police officers were involved in an early-morning, officer involved shooting Thursday, May 18. The shooting happened during a dangerous vehicle pursuit in Murrieta.

The shooting left the suspect’s vehicle, described as a light-colored SUV “riddled with bullet holes,” area resident Penny Whitman said after the pursuit and officer-involved shooting.

The alleged suspect was later identified as Richard Gene Gates Jr., 41, of Lake Elsinore. He was booked into the Southwest Detention Center in Murrieta on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer, recklessly evading peace officer, resisting arrest and driving under the influence.

The incident began about 1:36 a.m., when a City of Murrieta police officer spotted an “erratic” driver in the area of California Oaks Road and Jackson Avenue, Murrieta Police Lt. Ron Driscoll said after incident.

Based on Gates’ behavior and observed driving actions, the officer believed the man was possibly impaired or driving under the influence and the officer attempted to initiate a traffic stop on the vehicle.

In spite of the officer’s lights and siren, Gates, sped away from the officer. As the pursuit continued, additional officers quickly joined the chase.

The pursuit continued through city streets to a cul-de-sac on the 24000 block of Whitaker Way near Vineyard Parkway.

“The vehicle drove to the end of Whitaker Way and the driver maneuvered his vehicle in an attempt to flee the area,” Driscoll explained. “It was during this time that an officer involved shooting occurred.”

After the officer-involved shooting, Gates continued to flee from pursuing officers.

As the pursuit continued, an officer managed to successfully use a set of spike strips to disable Gate’s vehicle and help bring the pursuit to a safe conclusion.

“Although the vehicle was slightly affected by the use of the Spike Strip, the suspect was able to drive to the area of Washington Avenue and Kalmia Street,” said Driscoll.

Gates eventually turned east onto Kalmia Street from Washington Avenue at which time a pursuing officer managed to use his patrol vehicle to pin the vehicle when Gates attempted to turn after driving off the roadway.

Officers quickly converged on Gates’ disabled and pinned vehicle; however the fleeing man refused to be taken into custody peacefully and he allegedly resisted arrest.

Officers eventually overpowered and subdued Gates and he was taken into custody.

Although Gates was not injured as a result of the officer involved shooting, the fleeing and combative man “sustained minor injuries during the struggle,” Driscoll explained. “No officers were injured as a result of the pursuit, or while taking the suspect into custody.”

After his arrest, officers booked Gates int jail.

While authorities investigated the shooting and pursuit, they called for the temporary closure of Kalmia Street between Adams and Washington Avenue. The area was re-opened several hours later after officials concluded their initial investigation.

The officer involved in the shooting has not been identified by officials.

Murrieta PD’s Detective Bureau is investigating the shooting and subsequent pursuit.

The investigation is active and ongoing.

Anyone with information regarding this investigation should contact Detective Roy Vargas at (951) 461-6307 or by e-mail. Anonymous tips can also be provided through “We Tip” at 1-800-78-CRIME.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated as more information becomes available.


Contact the writer:

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Trevor Montgomery runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News and Anza Valley Outlook and also writes for Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County.

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 and breaking his back in an off-duty 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 26 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and has 13 children and 12 – soon to be 13 – grandchildren.

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