Motor officer rams fleeing stalking suspect, both hospitalized

TEMECULA — A felon who was wanted out of San Diego County was arrested after fleeing from and then fighting with officials who tried to take him into custody as a result of a stalking investigation and warrant that was served at a Temecula residence July 3.

Wednesday afternoon’s violent incident began when investigators found the wanted man, 37-year-old, Virgil Warren Zwicker, at a home on the 31000 block of Bitterroot Ct. After a brief standoff, the man fled from the home but was spotted running on foot in the area of Wolf Creek Park. 

Believing Zwicker was possibly armed, a motor officer “intentionally collided” with the fleeing suspect, leading to “a use of force” and Zwicker’s ultimate arrest, Riverside Sheriff’s Sgt. Collazo later explained.

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At around 2:20 p.m., investigators from the Temecula Sheriff’s Station were searching for Zwicker at a residence on Bitterroot Ct. when they spotted the man, who was wanted for firearms, stalking, and other related charges, according to Collazo.

“Zwicker refused to obey the investigators orders and a brief stand off ensued on the driveway of the residence,” explained Collazo.

As the dangerous incident unfolded, Zwicker reached into the cab of his vehicle, potentially retrieving a weapon. He then fled through the residence and ran from the area on foot. As the chase continued, investigators momentarily lost sight of the wanted felon and sheriff’s dispatchers broadcast a description of him to responding deputies – who converged on the area from around the city and surrounding areas.

Deputies and other emergency personnel tend to an injured motor officer and suspect, after the motor officer “intentionally collided” with the wanted man. Anthony Lopez photo

Zwicker was soon spotted running in the area of Wolf Creek Park, but he continued to refuse to comply with the deputies’ orders as they tried to detain him. 

Zwicker was then seen reaching into his front waistband area, “when a motor unit intentionally collided into (him).” according to Collazo.

“A use of force ensued and Zwicker was ultimately taken into custody,” the Sgt explained.

The deputy reportedly sustained a broken clavicle and other non-life-threatening injuries during the melee. Zwicker also sustained unspecified, but non-life-threatening injuries and both the deputy and Zwicker were later transported to local hospitals for treatment of their various injuries.

As the investigation continued, investigators obtained a search warrant for the Bitterroot Ct. residence, at which time they located and seized firearms and ammunition.

Officials converged on Bitterroot Ct. in Temecula after a wanted suspect fled from and then fought with deputies. Ashton Taylor photo

After receiving medical attention Zwicker was booked into Cois Byrd Detention Center on suspicion of felony stalking, resisting arrest, possession of illegal narcotics, and being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition. He remains in custody on $500,000 bail and is scheduled to be arraigned at Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta, July 8. 

The name of the deputy injured during Zwicker’s arrest was not released and CHP is investigating the collision between the motor officer and suspect.

The sheriff’s investigation into this incident is ongoing. 

Anyone with information related to this investigation is encouraged to contact Investigator Roberge at the Temecula Sheriff’s Station (951) 696-3000 or Riverside County Sheriff’s Department Dispatch  (951) 776-1099. Callers can refer to incident file number TE191840126 and can remain anonymous. Citizens may also submit a tip using the Sheriff’s CrimeTips online form.


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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