Riverside County sheriff’s officials released a video Saturday in the investigation into two deputies’ fatal shooting of a man they said was armed and wanted while trying to flee police on the 215 Freeway in Menifee.
The incident occurred on June 15, when Border Patrol agents in plainclothes were driving unmarked vehicles and working routine patrol spotted a man wanted for an assault with a deadly weapon, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department said in a video Sunday.
The Border Patrol agents followed the suspect, identified as 37-year-old Ventura County resident Juan Miguel Bejar, as he drove south on the 15 Freeway near Lake Elsinore before he exited and parked at a gas station, where they confronted him, the Sheriff’s Department said.
When the agents tried to take Bejar into custody, the suspect drove his vehicle toward them and struck two patrol cars before fleeing “at a high rate of speed,” officials said.
That’s when Border Patrol asked the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department for assistance.
Shortly after, sheriff’s deputies managed to locate Bejar in Temecula and tried to stop him, but the suspect fled away and a pursuit began, officials said.
Bejar led deputies through Temecula and Menifee before getting on the northbound 215 Freeway, sheriff’s officials said.
While heading north, the suspect slowed down and stopped his car near the center median, just south of Ethanac Road, authorities said.
Bejar, who officials allege was armed, then exited his and began fleeing on foot, jumping over the center median and running into the southbound lanes of the freeway.
“At that time, a deputy-involved shooting occurred,” the Sheriff’s Department said in a video, which shows the body camera footage captured by the two deputies who shot at Bejar.
Two deputies fired at Bejar and struck him. Deputies immediately began performing life-saving measures and Bejar was transported to a local where he later died from his injuries, officials said.
It was not immediately clear in the video what prompted deputies to shoot at Bejar.
Deputies later recovered a 9mm semi-automatic pistol from the scene, officials said.
The two deputies were placed on administrative leave, in accordance with department policy, and the investigation continues.