Gun-wielding man fatally shot after Indio robbery

INDIO — A man armed with a gun who officials say assaulted another man and stole his cell phone outside an Indio sandwich shop yesterday afternoon later died in a hail of gunfire after officials tracked him to a nearby apartment complex, according to Indio PD and Riverside County sheriff’s officials.

The Wednesday, April 10, gunfire – which one woman described as “so scary,” sent area residents diving for cover with some later reporting taking shelter inside their homes and hiding inside local businesses.

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Indio PD officers were first alerted to the robbery after Subway restaurant employees witnessed the assault and theft and called 911 to report the incident, according to Indio police spokesman Ben Guitron.

Responding officers learned the alleged suspect, who has not been publicly identified pending further investigation and notification of his family, confronted the victim in the Subway parking lot while armed with a gun. The suspect hit the victim in the head and stole his cell phone, according to officials.

Officers located the alleged suspect around 4:30 p.m., in the 81000 block of Las Palmas Rd., just east of Indio High School.

“Officers located a male in the area with a gun and an officer involved shooting occurred,” Riverside Sheriff’s Sgt. Rick Espinoza of the Sheriff’s Central Homicide Unit later reported. “The suspect did not survive the incident.”

Officials did not specify if the gun-wielding man fired at officers during the fatal officer-involved shooting.

Shirley Evaro was at an Indio bank when shots began to ring out, sending the terrified woman and bank employees running for cover and safety at the back of the bank. Shirley Evaro/Facebook photo

Within minutes of the shooting, area resident Shirley Evaro, posted on social media that she was visiting a bank near where the shooting happened, when “police started sliding and skidding all around me.” Shots began to ring out moments later, according to Evaro.

“The next thing I hear are so many gun shots,” Evaro explained, saying it sounded like multiple weapons being fired. “Sounded like cross fire, couldn’t tell.”

As shots were still being fired, bank employees had the terrified woman “run to the back of the bank to get in to a safe place,” Evaro explained.

Video Evaro filmed from the scene a few minutes later showed police officers swarming into the area, with lights flashing and sirens blaring. (See video below.)

Based on the circumstances, Riverside County Sheriff’s Central Homicide Unit responded and assumed the shooting investigation.

“There were no injuries sustained by law enforcement personnel or the public, and there are no outstanding suspects or threats to public safety,” Espinoza later reported.

No other citizens or officers were injured in the shooting, and the involved officers have been placed on administrative leave per department policy.

“The involved officer’s name(s) will not be released at this time,” according to Espinoza, who said the sheriff’s investigation is active and ongoing.

Anyone with information regarding the incident is encouraged to contact Central Homicide Investigator Vasquez at (760) 393-3500 or (951) 955-2777. Callers can refer to incident file number R191000006 and can remain anonymous. Citizens may also submit a tip using the Sheriff’s CrimeTips online form.

Shirley Evaro/Facebook video

Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, 47, moved last year to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, The Valley Chronicle, and Anza Valley Outlook; as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and Mountain Echo in Shasta 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. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s 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 28 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 15 – but soon to be 16 – grandchildren.

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