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Deputies Remain in Field after Shooting

Posted: February 27, 2008 1:44 a.m.
Updated: April 29, 2008 5:02 a.m.
 
The two Sheriff's deputies who opened fire on a fleeing suspect Friday night were not taken off field duty, an official said Tuesday.

Typically, deputies are taken out of the field for five days when they fire their weapon and hit someone, but because no one was hit, the two involved in Friday's shooting remained in the field, Sheriff's Sgt. Darren Harris said.

"By policy, it's five days out of the field," he said, referring to the amount of time deputies must spend on administrative leave whenever they shoot someone while on duty. "Yet incidents where no one is hit, there is no reassignment, and we'll just discuss it with the deputy."

Harris did not know how long the two deputies from Friday's shooting have been with the Sheriff's Department, but said they are not rookies.

Around 8 p.m. Friday, the pair was reportedly eating dinner in a parking lot at the corner of Soledad Canyon Road and Solamint Road when they saw what appeared to be a fight.

As they approached, one of the young men involved reportedly jumped in a car and brandished a shiny object at the deputies, at which point they opened fire. One of them fired four rounds, and the other fired one shot.

Since the suspect was not hit by a bullet, the deputies were not subject to administrative leave. Whenever there is an administrative leave, deputies are reassigned to internal administrative duties for up to five days, Harris added.

While deputies are not always subject to reassignment when they fire upon a suspect or individual, counseling is immediately made available through the station's employee support services for up to five days.

"It's a traumatic situation and each deputy handles it differently," Harris added. "In any life threatening incident, deputies are offered an opportunity to speak to our employee support services."

Friday's shooting marks the first time in more than a year and a half that local deputies have been involved in a shooting.

On Aug. 28, 2006, Sheriff's deputies killed Andres Garcia, 58, when he brandished what turned out to be a replica handgun, as he argued with them in a dark lot at the edge of the Caltico oil field in Newhall.

Because that case involved the use of deadly force, it was investigated by the Sheriff's Homicide, Internal Affairs and Training bureaus, the Office of Independent Review and the county District Attorney's office, and the deputies who fired were pulled out of the field for five days.

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