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Hero Down: Kern County Deputy Phillip Campas Murdered During SWAT Response

Wasco, CA – Kern County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) Deputy Phillip Campas was murdered in the line of duty while trying to rescue hostages during a standoff in a residential area on Sunday afternoon.

The incident began at approximately 1 p.m., when the KCSO received a report of shots being fired in the area of Poplar Avenue and the 100-block of 1st Street, KBAK reported.

KCSO Lieutenant Joel Swanson said the deputies also received information that the gunman possibly had wounded victims with him inside the home where he was holed up, according to CNN.

When deputies arrived at the scene, the shooter immediately opened fire on them, Lt. Swanson said.

None of the deputies were hit during the initial exchange of gunfire.

The area was placed on lockdown as a SWAT team responded to the scene of the standoff, CNN reported.

When the team tried to approach the home at about 3 p.m., the shooter opened fire on them yet again, Lt. Swanson said.

Two KCSO deputies where shot during the attack.

Both were rushed to a local hospital as the standoff with the gunman continued, CNN reported.

The gunman was shot by a law enforcement officer at approximately 6:30 p.m., ending the standoff, KBAK reported.

Details regarding how that shooting occurred have not been released.

The suspect was transported to a local hospital in unknown condition, KBAK reported.

His identity has not been released.

The Kings County Deputy Sheriff’s Association (KCDSA) released a statement Sunday night noting that two wounded victims were found inside the home with the gunman.

Their conditions have not been released.

Wasco Mayor Alex Garcia released a statement Sunday confirming that one of the KCSO deputies who was shot had succumbed to his wounds.

The condition of the second wounded deputy was not released.

“While reporting to a standoff here in Wasco, one of our brave Kern County Sheriff Deputies was killed-in-action and one other was shot and wounded,” Garcia wrote. “My heart goes out to the families of both the deputies.”

The mayor said it is impossible to be prepared for such “tragedies.”

“I pray that God surrounds these families with his love and gives them the strength to make it through this devastating time,” Garcia said. “I would also like to take the time to thank all our brothers and sisters in the law enforcement & first responder community who valiantly put their lives on the line every day to protect our residents. I cannot thank you enough for the work you do.”

The KCDSA identified Deputy Campas as the deputy who was murdered in the attack.

Prior to his career in law enforcement, Deputy Campas served in the U.S. Marine Corps, the KCDSA said.

He was a member of the KCSO’s Honor Guard, Patrol Unit, and a SWAT team member.

“We send our prayers to Deputy Campas’ family and friends. All of us grieve with our brothers and sisters at the Kern County Sheriff’s Office,” the KCDSA said. “RIP Deputy Phillip Campas.”

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Kern County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Phillip Campas, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.

Deputy Phillip Campas, your life mattered.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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