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Hero Down: San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Sgt. Dominic Vaca Murdered

Yucca Valley, CA – San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office (SBCSO) Sergeant Dominic Vaca was murdered in the line of duty after a pursuit with a motorcycle rider Monday afternoon, according to police.

The incident began just after 12:30 p.m. on May 31, when SBCSO deputies spotted a rider operating a motorcycle without a license plate in the area of Imperial Drive and Paxton Road, San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon said during a video statement.

The SBCSO Morongo Basin Station deputies happened to be in the area conducting “extra patrol for off-highway vehicle violations” at the time, Sheriff McMahon noted.

Deputies tried to stop the rider, but he refused to pull over and led them on a chase, he said.

The suspect ended up bailing off the motorcycle near Sunnyslope Drive and Dumosa Avenue, then took off running on foot into the desert, KABC reported.

Deputies initially spotted the dumped motorcycle, but weren’t sure where the suspect had gone.

“As they approached the motorcycle, they attempted to locate the rider,” Sheriff McMahon said. “The rider started firing at the responding deputies.”

Sgt. Vaca was shot during the attack.

“A short time later, the suspect was located and he started shooting at the additional deputies,” Sheriff McMahon told reporters. “They returned fire and the suspect is deceased.”

The sheriff confirmed the shooter was armed with a handgun and his weapon has been recovered.

Sgt. Vaca was airlifted to a local hospital, where he succumbed to his wounds.

“It is my sad duty to report that despite the heroic, lifesaving measures of the staff and the hospital, Sergeant Dominic Vaca, 43 years old, a 17-year veteran of the sheriff’s department, has succumbed to his injuries,” Sheriff McMahon said in another video statement just before midnight.

“The gunshot wound he sustained earlier today was too severe for him to overcome,” the sheriff continued. “Our prayers are with him and his family as we all mourn this difficult time.”

A law enforcement procession was held early Tuesday morning, KABC reported.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Dominic Vaca, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.

Sergeant Dominic Vaca, 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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