Deputies Kill Semitruck Driver Who Fired at Them, Rammed Patrol Car During Pursuit in San Bernardino County

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Deputies shot and killed a semitruck driver who fired at them and rammed a patrol car during a pursuit through San Bernardino County Sunday night, authorities said.

A caller told authorities he was following a suspicious person in a semi-truck that he saw near an Apple Valley home at about 9:39 p.m., the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said.

Deputies from the department’s Victor Valley station responded and found a vehicle that matched the caller’s description.

The driver did not stop for authorities and they started chasing the truck onto Highway 247, the Sheriff’s Department said.

A sheriff’s helicopter also responded to help with the pursuit.

Deputies threw spike strips in front of the fleeing vehicle’s path twice in an attempt to get the driver to stop, authorities said.

The driver then shot at deputies and a “deputy involved shooting occurred involving Sheriff’s Aviation,” the department said.

As the pursuit continued onto the 62 Freeway, the driver rammed a marked patrol car and shot at a deputy, prompting at least one deputy to shoot at the driver, the department said. The deputy wasn’t struck by the gunfire.

The semitruck kept going and then went off the roadway on the south side of State Route 62 near Pinion Drive.

Deputies then shot the driver, who was pronounced dead at the scene, the Sheriff’s Department said.

One deputy suffered minor injuries, but did not require medical attention, authorities said.

The incident is under investigation.

Authorities later identified the man as Anthony Watkins, a 36-year-old transient from Lucerne Valley. Investigators said he made a U-turn just before the chase ended and was driving east toward deputies in the westbound lanes.

They  did not provide information on the suspicious activity Watkins was accused of in Apple Valley.

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