UPDATE: Search for suspect continuing after Hemet victim critically injured during Christmas day robbery

UPDATED: Monday, Jan. 6, 3 p.m., With additional details and update from Hemet PD.

HEMET — Authorities are continuing to search for a suspect who critically injured a Hemet man while stealing the victim’s expensive camera during a Christmas day robbery.

The victim, who is continuing to recover, was dragged several blocks after trying to hold on to his camera and suffered major head trauma and other serious injuries, according to officials who are now asking for the public’s help locating the alleged thief.

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Officials began investigating the Dec. 25th robbery around 9 a.m., after the City’s Communications Center received a call reporting a robbery that just occurred on the 100 block of S. Franklin St., Hemet PD reported after the violent encounter.

City of Hemet police and fire personnel began arriving at the scene within minutes, but initially could not find the victim, who had been dragged several blocks to the 600 block of E. Florida Ave.

Officers work at the scene of a robbery that laft a 29-year-old Hemet man in critical condition after he was dragged several blocks by the suspect’s vehicle. Gary Rainwater/Public Safety Incidents photo

Once officials found the victim they quickly determined he had sustained major traumatic injuries while being dragged and had suspected internal injuries, as well as severe facial and head trauma, with his breathing obstructed.

Based on the severity of his injuries, officials requested an air ambulance and a Mercy Air helicopter was immediately launched to the scene.

While officers began investigating the incident the victim, a 29-year-old Hemet resident who has not been publicly identified, was transported to Hemet Valley Hospital, where Mercy Air landed to pick up and airlift the critically injured victim to an area trauma center.

Blood pools and other evidence at the scene of the violent robbery showed the severity of the victim’s injuries. Gary Rainwater/Public Safety Incidents photo

During their subsequent investigation, officers learned a man pulled up next to the victim and tried grabbing a new camera from the victim’s neck. While trying to regain control of his camera, which was still strapped around his neck, the victim was dragged by the suspect as he attempted to flee from the area.

“The victim was approached by a light-complexioned black male adult in a black 2000-2007 Ford Taurus sedan about a camera the victim had on his person,” Hemet PD reported after the theft.

“The suspect grabbed the camera from the victim then fled at a high rate of speed in the suspect vehicle,” officials continued; saying, the victim was dragged alongside the fleeing vehicle.

As their weeks-long investigation was continuing, officers located and obtained surveillance video footage that showed the suspect fleeing the scene of the robbery and assault.

Officials are asking for the public’s help identifying and locating a man they say dragged a victim several blocks while trying to steal the man’s camera. Hemet PD photos

Based on the recovered surveillance footage, Hemet PD updated today that at the time of the robbery the suspect’s vehicle “had distinct wheels, some type of aftermarket chrome emblem on the front fender of the vehicle, and what appeared to be damage to the front fender near the driver’s side head light.”

The suspect has been described as a Black male adult in his early 20’s and was last seen wearing a red, white and blue hat and white shirt.

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The victim is still recovering from his critical injuries and is currently listed in stable condition, according to officials; who are now asking for the public’s help identifying and locating the person responsible for the robbery.

Anyone with information regarding this ongoing investigation or who witnessed the incident and has not yet provided a statement is encouraged to contact Detective Sgt. Gabriel Gomez at (951) 765-2396 or provide information through the Hemet PD smartphone app available for free via the App Store for iOS devices and Google Play for Android users. Anonymous tips are always accepted.

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



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Gary Rainwater/Public Safety Incidents photos

Gary Rainwater/Public Safety Incidents videos

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Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, 48, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, (the now defunct) Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; 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 29 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 16 grandchildren.

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