Sheriff’s Dept. releases video of six officer-involved shootings

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — New developments emerge tonight as the Kern County Sheriff’s Office releases videos from six officer-involved shootings last year … several from body cameras. Warning to those who view the story, some of this video may be disturbing. In March of 2020, deputies were called to the 2300 block of Highway 58 in Mojave, near Beale Road, for a report of 30-year-old Israel Lucas threatening customers in a dollar store and refusing to leave. When they arrived, deputies say, Lucas fought officers … leading to a shooting. Some deputies were wounded and Lucas was pronounced dead at the scene.

Two days later, other deputies from the Mojave substation were involved in another shooting. This happened after deputies responded to the area of Pat Avenue and Holt Street, finding 50-year-old Charles Walsh had struck his grandmother, 71, with a cane, giving her a laceration. When law enforcement tried to arrest him, he started shooting at first responders, in a shootout that left Walsh dead inside his home. No deputies were injured.

The third video released today coming from an OIS last April in Lamont, after 34-year-old Javier Vidal fatally shot his pregnant girlfriend Audreyanna in the area of Florence Street and Ralph Avenue. The couple’s son Josiah was delivered as she was dying, and the family was forced to take Josiah off life support days later.
Vidal drove away from the scene, abducting their 2-year-old and fleeing to Pumpkin center off of Taft highway, where he barricaded himself in a home. Deputies confronted him during a four-hour gunfight with sheriff’s deputies. Vidal was pronounced dead at the scene.

A month later, deputies were called to the corner of Highway 43 and 16th street for reports of a stabbing.
They arrived to find a man assaulting two women in an apartment. Deputies entered an apartment as a man attacked two women with a knife, while the assailant refused to drop his weapon after deputies tried to de-escalate the confrontation for several minutes. That man died at the scene. KCSO says none of the three responding deputies or the three children in the apartment were hurt, but the stabbing left both women hospitalized.

A similar scene unfolding on June 12 as law enforcement was called to the area of Water Street and Alta Vista Drive in Oildale after reports of a man banging on an apartment door. Deputies finding 36-year-old Jacob Morales in a nearby alley, chasing him before a violent standoff in front of the apartment building. No deputies were injured, and the shooting left Morales with non life-threatening wounds. He was booked in the Kern County Jail for several charges including stalking.

New video emerged tonight of a shooting in a parking lot on the 10,000 block of Highway 178 in Lake Isabella. KCSO says deputy Mario Garza was off-duty at the time, so he wasn’t wearing a body camera. Surveillance cameras and cell phones capture the moment the deputy responding to a a man identified as Cesar Ruiz driving and threatening people in a parking lot before pulling out a handgun. Video shows Garza firing one shot at Ruiz. Ruiz fires back, missing Garza before being shot again. Ruiz was pronounced dead at the scene.

17 News reached out to the sheriff’s department several times for this story. They have not given us an interview as of news time tonight.

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