UPDATED: MENIFEE: Officials investigating murder of 53-year-old bicyclist, victim ID’d
UPDATED: Friday, Dec. 15 9 p.m.
MENIFEE — Riverside County sheriff’s investigators are asking for the public’s help identifying one or more suspects believed to have been involved in the death of a Menifee bicyclist, Thursday morning, Dec. 7. The man succumbed to his injuries and died at Inland Valley Medical Center four days after the incident.
Sheriff’s officials have released very few details about the circumstances surrounding the incident, which is now being investigated as a homicide. The incident, which officials have said very little about, happened in the area of Briggs Road and Old Newport Road, in Menifee.
Deputies assigned to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Perris Police Station were dispatched to the area about 10:49 a.m., after receiving a 911 call from a person reporting a “man down” in the area, Riverside Sheriff’s Sergeant Walter Mendez explained in a written press release after the victim’s death.
When they arrived officials found a man, later identified as Paul Leon Smith, 53, of Menifee, on the ground and suffering unspecified major injuries.
“Life saving measures were initiated and the medical personnel summoned transported the victim to a local hospital for treatment,” said Mendez. “On Monday, Dec. 11, Mr. Smith succumbed to his injuries and the matter is now being investigated as a homicide.”
During their initial investigation deputies learned that “just prior to Mr. Smith’s assault, he had been seen riding a bicycle with a small trailer attachment,” Mendez explained. Deputies later found the bicycle and trailer in the area where Smith was found.
Based on the circumstances, investigators from the Sheriff’s Central Homicide Unit and Perris Station assumed the investigation, which is active and ongoing.
Officials have not specified the nature or extent of Smith’s injuries and, citing the ongoing investigation, have not released any further information.
Anyone with information regarding this investigation or who witnessed the deadly encounter that led to Smith’s death is encouraged to immediately contact Investigator Nelson Gomez of the Sheriff’s Central Homicide Unit at (760) 393-3527. Callers can refer to incident file number ME173410073 and can remain anonymous. Citizens may also submit a tip using the Sheriff’s CrimeTips online form.
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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.