A Southern California sheriff’s deputy was shot and killed while attempting a traffic stop on a motorcyclist in a desert community east of Los Angeles, authorities said.
Sgt. Dominic Vaca, 43, was airlifted to the hospital on Monday where he later succumbed to his injuries, San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon said in a video message.
“The gunshot wound he sustained earlier today was too severe for him to overcome,” he said. “Our prayers are with him and his family as we all mourn this difficult time.”
Vaca was a 17-year veteran of the sheriff’s office and was a sergeant at the Morongo Basin Station, officials said on social media along with a picture of the slain sergeant.
Sergeant Vaca served 17 years with the Department and was a sergeant at the Morongo Basin Station. pic.twitter.com/smaMdADwMH
— San Bernardino County Sheriff (@sbcountysheriff) June 1, 2021
Authorities said that deputies from the Morongo Basin station in the Yucca Valley area were conducting an extra patrol for off-highway vehicle violations at around 12:33 p.m., when they spotted a male subject riding a street motorcycle without a license plate.
The deputies attempted a traffic stop, and a pursuit ensued. A short time later, the deputies located the motorcycle and the rider was gone.
As they approached the motorcycle and attempted to locate the rider, the rider started firing at them.
Vaca was struck by the gunfire, McMahon said. Shortly later, the suspect began shooting again at additional deputies, who returned fire, killing the suspect. McMahon said a handgun was located at the scene.
Yucca Valley is located some 120 miles east of Los Angeles in San Bernardino County.
The investigation remains ongoing, the department said on Twitter.
Epoch Times reporter Isabel van Brugen contributed to this report.