Suspect shot and killed after confrontation with eleven officers

Suspect shot and killed after confrontation with eleven officers
One suspect is dead and two are in custody after a confrontation with both Bakersfield Police officers and Kern County Sheriff deputies. The early Monday morning incident started with a resident calling 911 to report suspects firing shots from a car.

By late Monday, the two suspects in custody had been identified as 23-year-old Antonio Villa Rivera and 22-year-old Gerardo Chavez Valencia -- both of Bakersfield. The suspect who was shot has not been identified, and an autopsy is planned for Tuesday.

The third suspect had been cornered in the backyard of a house in the 2600 block of Lake Street. That's not far from where Gary Smith lives.

Smith says he heard the final confrontation with officers. "I heard what was like pop, pop," says Smith. But, he's worried at the thought of the suspects shooting in the neighborhood.

"There are lots of families with little kids and little babies," says Smith. "It could have been worse, it could have been them."

The incident started when a resident called 911 to report shots being fired from suspects inside a brown Honda. Sheriff officials say a deputy in the area heard those shots.

Soon after, that officer then spotted the Honda at Monterey and Barlow and reportedly saw shots being fired from the car. Officers chased the vehicle, and stopped it in the 2600 block of Monterey.

Investigators say three suspects in the car took off on foot, but they arrested Rivera near the car with the help of a police dog. Officers set up a perimeter to catch the other two suspects, and California Highway Patrol officers and Bakersfield Police arrived on the scene.

The second suspect was then found in the backyard of a home in the 2600 block of Monterey. Officers say at that location, they took Valencia into custody. Investigators say they found a loaded handgun with Valencia.

Next, the officers found the third suspect, and they say he also had a gun. "We do know he was armed, " Senior Deputy Mark King told Eyewitness News. "he was commanded numerous times by Bakersfield Police officers and Sheriff deputies to disarm -- and he refused to do so."

That's when the officers fired at the suspect. King says an investigation has now started into the officers' actions. King says there are rules for officers in these situations, "he's authorized to use deadly force to protect himself, to protect others," says King.

The investigation will look at the evidence, where the officers' bullets went, and include statements from the officers, witnesses and neighbors. The review will also analyze whether the officers' actions were within state law and department guidelines.

The investigation will also look at the threat in the situation, and how officers perceived that threat.

"It's the department policy to safely take suspects into custody," says Senior Deputy King. "The hazards were the suspects are out there shooting in the area. That's a hazard and that's something the suspects allowed themselves to be put into that situation."

Of the eleven officers who fired, four are with the Kern County Sheriff's Department: Deputy Michael Blue, Deputy Justin Weidenkopf, Deputy Charles Moore and Sgt. John Fowler.

The seven officers from the Bakersfield Police Department are: Sr. Officer Joseph Dougherty, Sr. Officer Charles Sherman, Officer Brent Stratton, Officer Patrick Mara, Officer Stephen Kauffman, Officer Sean Underhill, and Officer Kevin Setser.

Under standard procedures, all the officers are on administrative leave while the investigation into the incident is underway.