UPDATED: WOODCREST: Man killed while trying to stop vehicle theft identified

UPDATED: Monday, Nov. 6, 7:30 p.m.

WOODCREST — Family members have identified a man killed Friday, Nov. 3, while reportedly trying to stop a vehicle theft on Suttles Drive, just north of Van Buren Boulevard, in the unincorporated community of Woodcrest.

Family members have identified Jorge Vargas as the man killed on Suttles Drive in Woodcrest, Friday, Nov. 3.

According to the man’s family, Jorge Vargas was the victim killed in the late night encounter.

When deputies arrived on scene they found emergency medical services already at the location “attempting life saving measures,” Riverside Sheriff’s Sgt. Ben Ramirez explained in a written press release after the fatal encounter.

Officials pronounced Vargas deceased at the scene of the deadly incident at 11:50 p.m., about twenty minutes after witnesses called 911 to report finding Vargas down in the roadway.

Based on the circumstances, investigators from the Perris Station and the Sheriff’s Central Homicide Unit responded and assumed the investigation, which is active and ongoing.

Family members have created a gofundme account to help offset burial costs and other expenses related to Vargas’ murder. Within its first eight hours, the page had raised $640 towards the page’s $30,000 goal. Anyone wanting to contribute is encouraged to visit the family’s gofundme page.

Anyone with information regarding this incident can contact Master Investigator Wortman at the Perris Station at (951) 210-1000 or Investigator Higgins at the Central Homicide Unit at (951) 955-2777. Callers can refer to incident file number PC173070083 and can remain anonymous. Citizens may also submit a tip using the Sheriff’s Homicide Tipline online form.

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WOODCREST — Details are still emerging, but authorities are reportedly investigating after a person died while trying to stop his vehicle from being stolen. The late night incident happened Friday, Nov 3., in the 16000 block of Suttles Drive in the unincorporated community of Woodcrest.

Officials responding to reports of a man down in the roadway now investigating possible homicide. OCHawk photo

Riverside County sheriff’s deputies, California Highway Patrol officers, Cal Fire/Riverside County firefighters and other emergency first responders were dispatched to the location just after 11:30 p.m., after receiving reports of an unconscious person in the roadway.

When officials arrived at the scene, they found a male along the west side of Suttles Drive, just north of Van Buren Boulevard.

“Firefighters arrived on scene to a bystander performing CPR on the patient, and took over care,” Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire Public Information Officer April Newman explained in an incident report.

The victim was pronounced deceased by medical personnel at the scene.

During their initial investigation, deputies determined the victim had suffered major traumatic injuries while possibly trying to stop his vehicle from being stolen. The victim reportedly held onto the stolen vehicle as the thief was fleeing from the location, at which time he sustained injuries resulting in his death.

Officials have not specified the nature or extent of the victim’s fatal injuries and the person’s name and age have not been released, pending notification of his family.

The victim’s vehicle has not been located and officials have not yet specified the vehicle make or model or where the vehicle was stolen from.

A party had been reported in the area, however, it was not immediately known if or how this incident might have been related to the party.

Officials discuss the circumstances that led to the man’s death. OCHawk photo

Based on the circumstances, the Sheriff’s Central Homicide Unit has responded to the scene and assumed the investigation.

While deputies conducted their investigation, Suttles Drive was closed to through traffic, between Van Buren Boulevard and Dischner Drive.

While the investigation continued, a small crowd of people milled around, just outside the crime scene tape. Some were interviewed as potential witnesses to the deadly incident.

According to Riverside County Sheriff Deputy Armondo Munoz, this is an active investigation and is in its early stages.

Anyone with information about this investigation or who witnessed the incident and has not yet provided officials with a statement is encouraged to contact the Sheriff’s Dispatch Center at (951) 776-1099. Callers can remain anonymous.

This is a developing story that will be updated as additional information becomes available.

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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.


  • Isn’t Woodcrest considered to be one of the “better” areas of Riverside??? I guess evil dirt bags travel thru every area and cause problems and grief.

  • Prayers to the family for their loss…I hope they find the perp and the car and prosecute to the fullest extent. Jorge was my daughters TA in her lit class last year at King. God Bless him…

  • Why is this not being reported in PE? They wrote a single article, “a person was found deceased off Van Buren”. No plea for public assistance. No word about the make and model of truck. PE never mentioned a go-fund-me or printed an obituary. This feels shady that it’s kept so quiet. A young man was murdered! Felony resulted in a death— felony murder! This should be all over the news, not just here. No offense, but this blog has a small reach. I’m so upset this wasn’t picked up and given a larger audience. Someone needs to get justice for Jorge!

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