HEMET: Parolee shot at end of multi-city pursuit

HEMET — A sheriff deputy shot and wounded a parolee who authorities say led deputies on an early morning vehicle pursuit before pointing a gun at officials at the end of the chase. The suspect sustained non-life-threatening injuries in the Sunday, Oct. 8 officer-involved shooting that happened west of the intersection of W. Florida Avenue and Warren Road in the city of Hemet.

Fire and medical personnel treated Juan Inzunza, who was shot at the end of a pursuit when officials say he pointed a weapon at deputies. Miguel Shannon/Epicenter News photo

As of Monday afternoon the suspect, identified by sheriff’s officials as Juan Francisco Inzunza, a 37, of Moreno Valley, remained hospitalized receiving treatment for unspecified injuries related to the shooting.

After his release from the hospital, Inzunza will be booked into jail on suspicion of attempted murder of a police officer, felony evading, driving on the wrong side of the road, being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition and violating the terms of his parole, according to jail records and sheriff’s officials.

The incident began about 2:14 a.m., when a deputy from the Riverside County Sheriff’s San Jacinto Police Station spotted a red Ford Mustang driving erratically in the area of Cottonwood Avenue and State Street in San Jacinto, Riverside Sheriff’s Sergeant Chris Willison said in a written press release after the shooting. The vehicle was occupied by three adults.

Believing “the driver may be under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs,” the deputy attempted to conduct a traffic enforcement stop, according to Willison, who explained Inzunza refused to yield, and a vehicle pursuit that “traveled through several cities,” ensued.

Officials did not specify which cities the pursuit traveled through or how long the pursuit lasted. The chase eventually entered the city of Hemet, “where the vehicle yielded to officers near the intersection of Florida Avenue and Warren Road,” said Willison.

Officials called for the temporary closure of Florida Avenue after the non-fatal, officer involved shooting. Miguel Shannon/Epicenter News photo

After coming to a stop, “both passengers exited the vehicle without incident,” Willison explained. However, as Inzunza was exiting the vehicle, he “pointed a handgun at the officers…and an officer involved shooting occurred.”

Deputies summoned medical personnel to the scene, who treated Inzunza before medics transported him to an area hospital.

Officials did not specify how many rounds the deputy fired or how many times Inzunza was struck.

As with all shootings involving sheriff’s officials, investigators from the Sheriff’s Central Homicide Unit responded to the scene and assumed the investigation. They were assisted by investigators from the Hemet Sheriff’s Station.

During their investigation, officials called for the temporary, full closure of Florida Avenue and the roadway reportedly remained closed for more than twelve hours.

Evidence technicians from the department’s Forensic Services Bureau responded to the scene and documented, photographed and collected evidence, while officials interviewed all those involved in the incident.

The deputy involved in the shooting has been placed on administrative leave per Department policy. “The involved officer’s name will not be released at this time,” said Willison.

The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department encourages anyone with information regarding the shooting or who witnessed the incident to contact Central Homicide Unit Investigator Bishop at (951) 955-2777 or Investigator Porrazzo at the Hemet Sheriff’s Station at (951) 791-3425. Callers can refer to incident file number I172810007 and can remain anonymous. Citizens may also submit a tip using the Sheriff’s CrimeTips online form.

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Miguel Shannon/Epicenter News video


Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

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Trevor Montgomery, who recently moved from Riverside County to Shasta County, runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for Riverside County based newspapers Valley News, The Valley Chronicle and Anza Valley Outlook as well as 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, breaking his back and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries 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 27 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 14 grandchildren.

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