Riverside County District Lawyer’s workplace investigating deadly deputy-involved taking pictures in La Quinta

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Riverside County District Attorney's office investigating fatal deputy-involved shooting in La Quinta

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A sheriff’s deputy responding to reports of a man with a gun in the courtyard of the La Quinta City Hall fatally shot the man Thursday afternoon, according to a spokesman with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.

Authorities were alerted to the armed man outside City Hall, near Washington Street and Calle Tampico, shortly before 1:30 pm Thursday. 

According to Sgt. Lionel Murphy, a department spokesman, deputies arrived, saw the man with a gun and “at that time, the deputy-involved shooting occurred.”

There is no outstanding public threat, Murphy said, adding that the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office is investigating the shooting.

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Authorities block off a portion of Calle Tampico outside La Quinta City Hall, Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020, following a deputy-involved shooting in the area. A Riverside County sheriff’s department deputy shot a suspect, who has been hospitalized, according to the sheriff’s department. (Photo: Rebecca Plevin/The Desert Sun)

Murphy added that the man who was shot was rushed to an area hospital where he later died Thursday. The deputy was not injured, officials said. 

Murphy did not know how many shots were fired and he didn’t have information as to whether the man threatened or fired his weapon at the deputy.

The man’s firearm was recovered at the scene, Murphy said, adding that he had no identifying information about the man.

Authorities have yet to verify whether one or more deputies fired at the man, he added.

Murphy didn’t have the exact location of the shooting, but said it took place “somewhere around the courtyard” of City Hall.

La Quinta Update 1: On 9/24 at 1:25pm, deputies received info that a man with a gun was in the courtyard of La Quinta city hall. Deputies responded & saw suspect armed with a weapon. Deputy involved shooting occurred. Suspect struck by gun fire & transported to a nearby hospital.

— Riverside County Sheriff’s Dept (@RSO) September 24, 2020

La Quinta Mayor Linda Evans said Thursday evening that a staffer encountered the armed man outside City Hall and was able to alert the sheriff’s department and staffers to the presence of “an active shooter.”

Evans, in her opening remarks during a virtual mayoral and council candidates’ forum hosted on Zoom by the Greater Cochella Valley Chamber of Commerce, thanked the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department for its “immediate response” in addressing the situation.

“I’m thankful for the quick response (of police). I’m thankful that none of our community members nor our staff were injured in any way shape or form,” Evans said.

Her comments were echoed by other candidates participating in the forum.

As the forum continued Thursday evening, Evans relayed a bit more about what happened. 

She said the staffer was able to “safely enter our City Hall building and locked the doors – which are normally locked anyway – and alerted the police and spread the word of an active shooter”  to staff.

Police were on scene within moments, she said.

No city workers were injured in the incident and that all were OK.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, City Hall doors were locked, as the building remains closed to the public. People have to make an appointment to be seen by a city worker and are only allowed into City Hall when arriving for a scheduled appointment.

Claudia Mejia, a hairstylist and manager at Great Clips in the La Quinta Village, a shopping center across the street from City Hall, said  Thursday afternoon that she saw “this rush of cops” arrive around 1:40 pm.

They got out of their cars and ran, she said, some toward City Hall and others toward the park nearby. She wondered if someone at City Hall had suffered a heart attack, she said.

“Literally two minutes later, we see the ambulance come in,” she said. She saw someone loaded into the emergency vehicle.

“It was a little nerve-wracking because you don’t know what’s going on,” she said.

Deputy involved shooting 9/24/20 at 1:25PM at Calle Tampico/Washington in LaQuinta. No outstanding suspect – suspect transported to local hospital. Deputy is ok. Will advise suspect info as it becomes available. PIO en route to scene.

— Riverside County Sheriff’s Dept (@RSO) September 24, 2020

Thursday evening, i

Thursday’s incident was the third shooting involving a Riverside County sheriff’s deputy in the Coachella Valley in about three months.

On June 22, deputies fatally shot Aaron Solorio Granados, a 33-year-old Palm Desert man, outside C.V. Guns & Tackle, 41-945 Boardwalk, Suite R in Palm Desert.

Deputies went to the scene to investigating an alarm and found that a car had been crashed into the business, which is near Cook Street and Hovley Lane.

Granados was shot after he exited the building, armed with a gun, and failed to obey orders from responding deputies, according to the sheriff’s department.

The second shooting happened Aug. 7 near the 70-000 block of Tamarisk Lane in Rancho Mirage.

Authorities said Jeffrey Alexander Monroy, a 33-year-old Cathedral City resident, was fatally shot after he used a screwdriver to attack a sheriff’s deputy.

Footage from this shooting was released earlier this week by the sheriff’s department. Only a brief amount of footage was obtained because the deputy’s body camera was deactivated during the confrontation, Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco said.

Desert Sun reporter Sherry Barkas contributed to this report.

Desert Sun reporter Colin Atagi covers crime, public safety and road and highway safety. He can be reached at [email protected] or follow him at @tdscolinatagi. Support local news, subscribe to The Desert Sun.

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