Neighborhood streets closed for hours as Hemet police and Riverside sheriff investigate
■ By Staff Reports / The Valley Chronicle
A man was shot and killed by Hemet police early Tuesday after he led officers on a high-speed chase through city streets, then pulled a gun after his vehicle was disabled by a spike strip, according to police reports.
The victim was identified as Nick Hamilton, 31, of Anza, who officers said was in a vehicle spotted by police shortly before 2 a.m. at the intersection of Lyon and Menlo Avenues in Hemet. Police said when they tried to pull over the vehicle for a traffic stop, the driver sped away at a high rate of speed, and police began a pursuit. Early news reports said the vehicle had been reported stolen, but no confirmation of that was forthcoming from police.
At some point, police apparently had called for a spike strip to be laid down, and reports indicate that Hamilton’s vehicle crossed over the spikes causing it to stop near the intersection of Girard Street and Sharose Drive, east of town just outside city limits.
Officers said that when the driver got out of the vehicle he was holding a firearm, but no description was offered as to what type. Early news reports had the driver shooting several times at police, but there was no confirmation by police sources that Hemet officers were actually under fire.
Hamilton died from his injuries shortly before 2:15 a.m. despite officers’ first-aid attempts to keep him alive. Paramedics arrived within minutes, but he had already succumbed to his injuries.
No police were harmed, but the officer responsible for the shooting, who has not been identified, was placed on administrative leave as is customary in such incidents.
Because the shooting happened outside city limits, the Riverside County Sheriff’s office is handling the investigation, which continued at the site well into Tuesday with neighborhood streets blocked off for hours.
Anyone with information about the shooting is encouraged to call Riverside Sheriff’s Homicide Investigator Mullins at (951) 955-2777.