Kern Co. deputies shoot, kill 18-year-old man in park

Kern Co. deputies shoot, kill 18-year-old man in park

BUTTONWILLOW, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — A 18-year-old man was shot and killed Monday afternoon in a Buttonwillow park.

Someone called 911, requesting help with Christian Chavez, who she believed to be suicidal, according to the Kern County Sheriff's Office. Christian Chavez was at a park on Milo Avenue with his grandmother and a therapist, his father Rene Chavez told Eyewitness News later that evening.

Christian Chavez had been receiving ongoing therapy, the father said.

When deputies Jeremy Storar and Tommy Robins arrived, they spoke first to the reporting party and then to Christian Chavez, according to the sheriff's office. The deputies asked Chavez to get out of a car so they could check him for weapons. Chavez then took a knife from his pocket and tried to stab Storar, the sheriff's office said.

Both deputies responded by shooting Chavez.

Medical aid was called, but Chavez died at the park.

Storar and Robbins, seven-year and nine-year veterans, respectively, were placed on routine administrative leave pending the outcome of a departmental review of the shooting.

Less than an hour earlier, the sheriff's office released its findings in another deputy shooting. The review board determined that Deputy Chris Strunc, a three-year veteran, improperly fired his gun during a Jan. 3 pursuit in Tehachapi. Strunc shot three rounds at an SUV after the suspects rammed his patrol car.

The sheriff's office didn't say whether Strunc could face prosecution or if this is purely an administrative issue.

Some Kern County residents have been critical of local law enforcement agencies during recent officer-involved shootings, saying the agencies investigate their own and rarely find the officers at fault.