Witnesses concerned as Riverside police shoot at moving vehicle
■ Chronicle News Staff
Last Friday, Hemet Police initiated a pursuit that led into the city of Riverside where the fleeing suspect eventually was killed either by police or his own hand.
Around 7:30 p.m. on July 20, HPD officers attempted to stop a male suspect near the area of Devonshire Avenue and Kirby Street in Hemet after reports of someone discharging a firearm into a field. Once confronted by officers, the suspect fled.
During the pursuit, the suspect turned out to be armed and fired at HPD officers several times including at the police helicopter while being pursued on the I-215 northbound.
Hemet PD closed down the area of Florida and California Avenues pending collection of evidence and the investigation. The suspect shot at officers at this location and was seen throwing something out of his vehicle, according to police.
The police pursued the suspect all the way to the city of Riverside where the Riverside Police Department then took over.
The chase finally came to a halt at the intersection of Arlington and California Avenue in Riverside where the victim was pronounced dead at the scene.
According to eyewitness testimonies, officers fired shots as both vehicles were in motion. One witness named Marie Lua recalls her side of events as she and her family were leaving the nearby shopping center where the pursuit was terminated. “I had my 5-year-old child in the car and there was nothing I can do, so we just stopped our vehicle and watched everyone shoot at him.”
Lua expressed her concerns about Riverside PD and the work they conducted after they opened fire while many nearby were at risk. “It’s unsafe and they could have went about it a safer way…and they (police) started shooting while he was still in motion,” said Lua.
It is unclear at this time whether the suspect died due to a self-inflicted wound or from police fire. The incident is still under investigation and no further information has been released at this time.