BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Newly released body cam footage is in of an officer-involved shooting that left a man dead after a hot pursuit across Southwest Bakersfield.
The pursuit happened on Aug. 7 and left the Autumn Crest neighborhood shaken.
Che Zuniga Jr. a 21-year-old Bakersfield man led police around town in early August as he fired his weapon at civilians, a security guard, and at Bakersfield Police.
After a shootout with police and disposing of his weapon and hiding in a trash can, Zuniga Jr. was hit by police gunfire.
Zuniga was unarmed at this moment, but it didn’t start out that way. He disposed of his gun after a shootout with police.
“Understand guys just because we found a gun doesn’t mean he doesn’t have nothing else,” a police officer said from the body cam footage.
Zuniga jumped the fence in the Autumn Crest neighborhood and hid.
“I’m very concerned right now being the residents inside,” an officer said on body cam footage. “If the suspect forces himself inside this turns into a hostage situation and we can’t allow that.”
Zuniga found a hiding spot in a trashcan. But when BPD pinpointed this location he sprang into action but instead of giving up he rushed forward.
“I could hear BPD say, Hey it’s BPD put your hands up or I’m going to release the canine, a couple times I heard that and all of a sudden I heard pop, pop, pop,” Marissa Castro an Autumn Crest Drive resident said. “I put my kids down, stay down stay down, and um nothing just dead silence and that was it.”
This all started with a domestic argument, a gun going off and Zuniga fleeing in a green Chevrolet truck.
No one was hurt but 20 minutes later he fired at a security guard at a construction site. He fled but was spotted an hour later at a family member’s home on Blossom Valley Lane.
He led police on a short chase but crashed the green truck into the wall outside of a woman’s bedroom window at Autumn Crest Drive.
This all led up to the shootout between Zuniga and BPD ultimately leading to his death.
The five officers involved in the shooting are identified as Officer C. Puryear, Officer S. Mann,
Senior Officer J. Pena, Officer C. Dickson and Officer D. Ramseur. The involved officers remain on modified duty pending a determination by the Chief of Police and California Department of Justice, BPD said in a news release.
No justified decision has been made.
The investigation is being handled by the state Department of Justice. After the investigation is completed the California Department of Justice’s Special Prosecutions Section within the Criminal Law Division will review the investigation.
“The public has a legitimate interest in obtaining timely and accurate information about police shootings, and the Bakersfield Police Department is committed to making that information available,” Chief of Police Greg Terry said in a news release. “We will release the body worn camera footage of officers in critical incidents as soon as it is possible to do so without compromising an investigation. This is our commitment to accountability and professionalism.”
Watch the full body cam video here:
WARNING: Viewer discretion is advised for strong images and language.