State to investigate killing of suspected fentanyl dealer by Riverside County gang task force
State authorities are investigating after members of a Riverside County gang task force shot and killed a man suspected of selling fentanyl in Hemet last week.
The California attorney general’s office announced Tuesday that it would independently investigate the shooting, which occurred at 11:36 p.m. on Jan. 18.
Deputies and officers from the Gang Impact Team of the Riverside County district attorney’s office were surveilling the man, who was at a business in the 2600 block of West Florida Avenue, according to a statement from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.
Task force members tried to contact the man, who was armed with a gun, but he fled on foot through the parking lot, according to the statement.
Officers and deputies used less-lethal weapons to try to disarm the man but weren’t successful, Sheriff’s Department officials said. They opened fire, hitting the suspect, and started first aid.
San Mateo County’s district attorney confirmed the man who was killed had two airsoft guns, not firearms.
Paramedics arrived and continued first aid, but the man was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the statement. The man’s gun was recovered.
His identity was not released by authorities as of Tuesday.
Authorities said Riverside County sheriff’s deputies and police officers from Hemet and Riverside were involved in the shooting, but they did not specify which law enforcement officers fired the fatal shots.
Their names were not released.
“The involved deputies and officers will be placed on paid administrative leave per their department policies,” according to the Sheriff’s Department statement.
Further information about the shooting and investigation was not available Tuesday.
Start your day right
Sign up for Essential California for news, features and recommendations from the L.A. Times and beyond in your inbox six days a week.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.