Northeast Bakersfield

Sheriff's office releases video of struggle with deputies, suspect

Sheriff's office releases video of struggle with deputies, suspect

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — Witness cellphone video was released Friday that shows a struggle between Kern County deputies and a man they were arresting.

The man, Ronnie Ledesma Jr., later died while in the sheriff's office custody.

Deputies responded Aug. 19 to the Walgreens store at 2629 Mt. Vernon Ave. regarding a suspicious-persons call. Two men were inside the store acting strangely, and both were possibly under the influence of a controlled substance, the sheriff's office said.

The first deputy to arrive on scene contacted Ledesma, who was displaying symptoms of being under the influence of drugs, according to the sheriff's office.

Ledesma allegedly became uncooperative when the deputy attempted to detain him. Ledesma resisted arrest and fought with the deputy for approximately two minutes before additional deputies arrived, including a K-9 unit, the sheriff's office said.

Friday, the sheriff's office released cellphone video from a witness to the arrest.

Raw witness video of Ledesma arrest:



A sheriff's department dog bit Ledesma during the arrest, and deputies used "impact weapons" and control holds to subdue Ledesma.

Ledesma was taken to Kern Medical Center for injuries sustained during his arrest. The sheriff's office said Ledesma developed medical complications and was admitted for further treatment. His condition worsened, and Ledesma died Wednesday. A cause of death has not yet been determined.

Preliminary toxicological reports revealed Ledesma had PCP, amphetamines and Xanax in his system, the sheriff's office said.

“(Ledesma) apologized for his behavior," Sheriff Donny Youngblood told Eyewitness News on Friday. "He apologized for attempting to hurt the canine and attempting to hurt the deputies. He admitted he was under the influence of PCP - in his words a substantial amount of PCP.”

The sheriff blamed Ledesma's drug use, not his deputies' actions, for Ledesma's death.

“When you’ve abused your body over a period of years, using illicit drugs, and then you get into a violent confrontation with anyone, your body is subject to quit," Youngblood said.