One of two men suspected of burglarizing cars in Huntington Beach was shot in the face early Monday by a police sergeant who five months ago had shot and killed a robbery suspect and was himself saved by a bulletproof vest, authorities said.
Randy Lee Howe, 29, of Fountain Valley, and Bob McDonald, 32, of Huntington Beach, were confronted by Sgt. Ed Deuel at 3:04 a.m. Monday in the 8400 block of Saru Street after a neighbor called police and reported “suspicious activity,” police spokeswoman Jo Anne Bergstrom said.
Deuel shouted “freeze” at the two men, investigators said, and fired a single shot when Howe “appeared to be reaching for his waist band for a weapon.” Sources said the suspects carried no weapons but that Howe had a portable radio or tape recorder in his pocket which caused a bulge that Deuel could have mistaken for a weapon.
Held on $10,000 Bail
The bullet struck Howe in the left cheek and lodged in his jaw. He underwent surgery to remove the bullet Monday afternoon at UCI Medical Center and was reported in satisfactory condition. Bergstrom said Howe probably will need additional reconstructive surgery to repair the damage to his face and jaw.
McDonald was arrested on suspicion of possession of stolen property and was being held on $10,000 bail in the city jail. When Howe is discharged from the hospital, he will be booked on suspicion of auto burglary and resisting arrest, Bergstrom said.
The shooting is being investigated by both the Orange County district attorney’s office and officers with the internal affairs division of the Huntington Beach Police Department. Deuel, 34, a seven-year veteran with the department, was sent home after talking with investigators. It was not disclosed if he will be given a special assignment during the investigation into the shooting.
The other shooting incident involving Deuel occurred April 13 when he responded to a silent alarm triggered by an employee at the Things for Your Head shop near Main Street in Huntington Beach and confronted two men as they walked out the front door, police said.
As Deuel radioed for assistance, one of the men, later identified as Thomas Oglesby, 21, address unknown, opened fire with a .45-caliber pistol, which jammed after the first round bounced off Deuel’s bulletproof vest, police said. Deuel shot the man in the head, killing him instantly, and then exchanged fire with the second suspect, who was armed with a shotgun, police said. The second man fled and has not been apprehended.
About $200 in cash and drug paraphernalia allegedly taken from the shop was recovered at the scene, police said.
Found He Acted Properly
An investigation by the district attorney’s office found that Deuel acted properly in the shooting incident.
Authorities would release only sketchy information on Monday’s shooting. They declined to say if Deuel answered the call by himself and whether there were any witnesses to the shooting. They also declined to say what, if any, items the two men were alleged to have stolen from the parked cars on Saru Street.