A fleeing home invasion suspect driving the wrong way on a California freeway ended up dead on Friday when he was struck by gunfire from a San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputy in a helicopter.
The unidentified man was suspected of a home invasion robbery, and when the sheriff’s department’s Specialized Enforcement Division tried to pull the man over, he didn’t stop and they pursued him through Fontana, San Bernardino, and onto the 215 Freeway.
“The use of force occurred from the helicopter,” said Sheriff’s Deputy Deon Filer. “We allow shots from the helicopter and it is something we’ve done before.”
“It doesn’t happen every day, for certain, but our deputies are trained to fire from the helicopter,” said Filer.
After being struck by gunfire from the Sheriff’s Department helicopter, the suspect jumped out of the moving SUV and it collided with another vehicle, injuring three people. The suspect staggered a short distance and was shot again by the deputy in the helicopter; then collapsed and died on the shoulder of the 215 freeway. The injured occupants of the other vehicle were taken to a hospital.
Among many questions: What is the policy, if any, for shooting at a moving vehicle in a high-speed pursuit, from a helicopter?
Under what circumstances does law enforcement decide to deploy a helicopter sniper to execute a person speeding down the freeway?
Who decides when a helicopter sniper is an appropriate use of force for a fleeing suspect?