Authorities identify man fatally shot by police at Wal-Mart parking lot in Hesperia

A man shot and killed by officers outside a Wal-Mart in Hesperia had stolen a car hours earlier, authorities said Thursday.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department identified the man as James Gleason, a 24-year-old Phelan resident.

Gleason and two others — Alexander Herd, 31, and Austin Banuelos, 22— took the car from a home in Victorville in the early morning hours Wednesday, the Sheriff’s Department said in a statement.

At 8 a.m., investigators with the San Bernardino County Auto Theft Task Force — which is comprised of officers from multiple state and local law enforcement agencies — caught up with the men in the Wal-Mart parking lot in the 13400 block of Main Street.


Two officers from the Fontana Police Department and California Highway Patrol spotted the men trying to steal a vehicle, the Sheriff’s Department said.

“The officers approached the suspect vehicle and used their unmarked vehicles to block in the suspects and prevent them from driving away,” the department said.

Gleason, who was driving, accelerated and nearly struck one of the officers, authorities said. That’s when the officers fired on the vehicle.

The car then crashed into one of the unmarked cars. The officers were not injured.

Gleason was struck by the gunfire and pronounced dead at the scene.

Herd, who was in the front passenger seat, was also shot, the Sheriff’s Department said. He was taken to a hospital, where he was treated and released. Herd was later arrested on suspicion of burglary, authorities said.

Banuelos was not injured. He was arrested on suspicion of receiving stolen property, according to the Sheriff’s Department.

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June 1, 2:55 p.m: This article was updated with the identification of the man killed and the other involved in the shooting.

12:15 p.m.: This article was updated with more information about the circumstances of the shooting.

This article was originally published at 9:05 a.m. May 31.