A 33-year-old man pointed an airsoft gun at a Riverside County sheriff’s deputy, yelling “shoot me, shoot me, or I will shoot you” before the deputy fired at least a half-dozen gunshots and killed the man in Indian Wells, according to body camera footage released Thursday.
“End my existence. End my existence” the suspect is heard yelling before being brought down by a hail of gunfire.
The footage was released late Thursday as part of a six-minute video narrated by Sheriff Chad Bianco — posted on the department’s social media accounts — concerning the Feb. 15 death of Royce Robertson of Joshua Tree, the owner of Joshua Tree Coffee Company, at the Desert Horizons Country Club at 44900 Desert Horizons Drive.
Bianco said deputies were initially sent to the area of Simon Drive and Highway 111 in La Quinta about 7:30 a.m. on a report that a motorist had threatened to kill another driver with a gun.
A “gentlemen just stuck a gun in my face at Chase Bank on the Highway 111,” the victim said in a 911 call, which was included in the video. “He’s now racing down the street, cutting in between cars.”
Bianco said during the video that Robertson got out of his car, pointed a gun at the victim and yelled “Do you want to die today?” before speeding off.
“I did nothing other than slam on my brakes to stop him from running into me,” the man told a dispatcher.
Deputies caught up to Royce, who was driving a newer-model Mercedes-Benz SL-60 AMG, at the Desert Horizons Country Club, who drove just inside the gate and stopped.
A lone sheriff’s deputy was the first on scene. Just as a second deputy was approaching the location, Robertson exited the car and walked toward the first deputy on scene.
“Hey stay in your vehicle. Get in your (expletive) vehicle,” the deputy can be heard yelling.
Robertson can be seen in the video approaching the deputy, pounding his chest saying “shoot me, shoot me” before pulling out what appeared to be a black handgun from a holster in his jacket.
“What only Robertson knew, and what investigators later determined, was that his weapon was an air pistol that looked nearly identical to a real handgun,” Bianco said. “At that time a deputy-involved shooting occurred.”
Despite attempts by deputies to save him, Robertson died at the scene.
The names of the deputies involved were not released. Neither of them were injured.
The shooting remains under investigation and will eventually be reviewed by the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.