For Immediate Release
|Date||December 16, 2003|
|Contact||Sergeant Steve Johnson|
Riverside, Ca- On Monday December
15, 2003 at approximately 4:20 P.M. Riverside Police Officers responded to a
citizensí call for help regarding a hit and run traffic collision. The female
victim reported a man driving a 1992 Mazda van struck her vehicle from behind
near Tyler and Hole Avenues. When he fled the scene, she followed the suspect
and called the police on her cellular telephone. She provided the police with a
description of the suspect vehicle; itís license plate, and the direction of
Officers located the suspect near Kent and Gramercy Streets and attempted to conduct a traffic stop. The driver, and only occupant, did not comply and fled in his van. He drove in a reckless manner and did not stop at several stop signs. At one point he drove through the crowded parking lot of an Elementary School, placing parents and students in harms way.
The driver of the van repeatedly used his vehicle as a weapon against the officers. He drove his van into a police car three times, causing minor injuries to the officer and moderate damage to the police car. He attempted to strike a motorcycle officer and several other police vehicles. He eventually tried to run over an officer who was on foot. It was clear to the officers that the driver of the van was trying to harm them. They pursued the suspect to the intersection of Philbin and Ivanhoe Streets where he stopped his vehicle.
Several officers exited their police cars, drew their weapons, and intended to conduct a high-risk felony car stop. Before they could do so, the man took a drink from a bottle of beer and began to drive toward the officers. One of the officers was standing in the street away from his car or any other position of safety. At 4:35 P.M. he fired his weapon several times, striking the van and the suspect. The vehicle rolled to a stop against a nearby church building.
Officers immediately summoned medical aid. The suspect was treated at the scene and transported to Riverside Community Hospital where he died. His identity is being withheld pending notification of his family.
Anyone who witnessed or has information regarding this incident is asked to contact Detective Mike Medici at 909-320-8049 or Detective Steve Shumway at 909-320-8011.