A procession was held early Tuesday morning to honor a San Bernardino County Sheriff’s deputy sergeant who died after being shot while looking for a suspect following a pursuit in Yucca Valley.
Video showed dozens of patrol vehicles escorting the body of 43-year-old Sgt. Dominic Vaca to the San Bernardino County coroner’s office overnight.
As bagpipes played, law enforcement personnel from different agencies gathered at Desert Regional Medical Center to grieve and pay their respects to the sergeant, who had been with the department for 17 years.
Vaca was on patrol with other deputies near Paxton Road and Imperial Drive Monday afternoon when they saw a motorcyclist with no license plate and tried to make a traffic stop, according to the department.
The motorcyclist tried to flee, kickstarting a pursuit that led into the desert, where the suspect ditched the bike and fled on foot.
Vaca was searching for the suspect when he was shot, officials said. He was airlifted to a hospital in critical condition.
Meanwhile, other deputies became involved in a gunfire exchange with the suspect.
“The suspect shot at the responding deputies and the deputies returned fire,” the Sheriff’s Department said.
The suspect was pronounced dead at the scene, where a handgun was located nearby, according to the department.
Just before midnight Monday, the department announced Vaca had also died.
“The gunshot wound he sustained earlier today was too severe for him to overcome,” San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon announced in a video. “Our prayers are with him and his family as we all mourn this difficult time.”
Officials have not identified the suspect and no further details on the shooting were available.
Vaca leaves behind two daughters, ages 4 months and 11 years old, according to a sheriff’s spokesperson.
A memorial fund was set up for his family through the Peace Officers Research Association of California.