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Rookie Kern County Deputy With Only 5 Weeks On Job Shot In Head

Rosamond, CA – A Kern County sheriff’s deputy was shot in the head by an armed suspect early on Friday morning after deputies responded to a report of a suspicious person trying to get into cars in Rosamond.

The incident began at about 3 a.m. on Dec. 2 when deputies responded to the Sierra Vista Mobile Home Park on Sierra Highway after 911 callers reported that someone was trying to get into vehicles and had been setting off car alarms, KBAK reported.

Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood said that Kern County Deputies Danielle Henderson and Michael Valdez arrived on the scene moments later and spotted a man matching the suspect’s description in the 2900-block of Diamond Street, KABC reported.

Deputies approached the suspect and tried to make contact but he fled on foot.

Sheriff Youngblood said the deputies pursued the suspect into an alley and that was when the suspect opened fire on Deputy Valdez, KERO reported.

The sheriff said the suspect fired four or five shots at the deputy and the deputy returned fire, KBAK reported.

“The exchange of gun fire lasted a few seconds,” Sheriff Youngblood told reporters.

Deputy Valdez was shot once in the forehead, KERO reported.

It was the rookie’s fifth week on the job after finishing his field training program, according to the sheriff.

The suspect – later identified as 19-year-old Edgar Rojas – fled again after he shot the deputy but was ultimately arrested in the 2900-block of Desert Street at about 7:30 a.m. the same day, according to the sheriff’s department.

Sheriff Youngblood said that deputies recovered a “ghost gun” off the suspect when they took him into custody, KERO reported.

Deputy Valdez was transported to Antelope Valley Hospital for treatment of his gunshot wound.

He was later released and is expected to fully recover.

The sheriff said the bullet went straight through the deputy’s head and lodged in his uniform hat and that it was a miracle he had survived, KERO reported.

Rojas has been charged with attempted murder, assault with a firearm on a peace officer, felony resisting arrest with violence, possession of a unserialized handgun or “ghost gun”, unlawful possession of a loaded firearm in public, tampering with a vehicle, and prowling, KBAK reported.

Sheriff Youngblood said there was bodycam video of the gunfight and that it would be released to the public after the Kern County Sheriff’s Office had completed its investigation into the deputy-involved shooting, KERO reported.

Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

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Written by Sandy Malone

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