Deputy fatally shoots vandalism suspect wielding tire iron on 10 Fwy north of Palm Springs: Officials

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Traffic is backed up on the 10 Freeway after a deputy's shooting of a vandalism suspect shut down the westbound lanes on April 9, 2021, in an image released by the California Highway Patrol.

Traffic is backed up on the 10 Freeway after a deputy’s shooting of a vandalism suspect shut down the westbound lanes on April 9, 2021, in an image released by the California Highway Patrol.

The westbound 10 Freeway north of Palm Springs was shut down for a time Friday after a deputy shot and killed a vandalism suspect armed with a tire iron who’d walked into the lanes, officials said.

Authorities were originally called around 8:45 a.m. about a man who’d broken the driver’s side window of a passing car on Whitewater Cutoff, a frontage road east of Whitewater Canyon Road, Riverside County sheriff’s officials said in a news release.

The location is in California Highway Patrol jurisdiction, and CHP said its officers would respond. But before they arrived, a sheriff’s deputy in the area saw the man vandalizing another vehicle that was stopped in the road, the department said.

The man was allegedly using various items, including a tire iron, as he damaged the car. The deputy tried to intervene, but the man ignored him and walked toward the freeway, officials said.

The deputy positioned his patrol vehicle to block the interstate before the suspect walked onto the westbound lanes. As the man approached, the deputy gave him commands to drop the tire iron he was carrying and leave the freeway, according to the Sheriff’s Department.

The armed suspect allegedly charged toward the deputy, and the deputy opened fire. Authorities did not say how many shots were fired, or where the suspect was struck.

Paramedics pronounced the man dead at the scene. His name was not being released, pending the notification of his next of kin.

Authorities also were not releasing the name of the deputy involved, who was placed on administrative leave in accordance with department policy.

The incident had backed up freeway traffic about 10 miles, to Palm Drive, but all lanes reopened around 4:20 p.m., CHP said.

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