The California Department of Justice announced Tuesday it will investigate the killing of a man suspected of selling fentanyl by sheriff’s deputies and officers from two police departments.
The agency said the week-old shooting prompted an inquiry under Assembly Bill 1506, which authorizes the state to conduct an independent review anytime an unarmed individual has been killed in a confrontation with law enforcement.
About 11:35 p.m. on Jan. 18, Riverside County sheriff’s anti-gang personnel were conducting a surveillance on a man, whose name has not been released, suspected of selling fentanyl in the 2600 block of West Florida Avenue in Hemet.
Along with Hemet and Riverside police officers assigned to the anti-gang unit, deputies attempted to detain the man, who allegedly ran across a parking lot, according to sheriff’s spokeswoman Sgt. Brandi Swan.
Swan alleged that the suspect was seen with a firearm, and the officers and deputies attempted to “disarm him by using less-lethal munitions,” but the efforts failed, culminating in the law enforcement personnel opening fire.
Hemet Fire Department paramedics were called and began life-saving measures, but the suspect died from his gunshot wounds at the scene, according to Swan.
No law enforcement officers were injured.
The Riverside County District Attorney’s Office started an investigation immediately after the shooting. Its inquiry will be separate from the one now being handled by the state.