RIDGECREST, Calif. - A Kern County Sheriff’s deputy assigned to the Ridgecrest substation began following a suspect vehicle which had been identified in a shooting that had occurred about two hours prior in the City of Ridgecrest at about 7:10 a.m. Friday, KCSO officials said.
During the shooting incident, a female victim was fatally shot and a male victim was shot several times and sustained major injuries, officials said.
READ | Man who went on deadly shooting spree in Ridgecrest identified as Sergio Alberto Munoz: http://bit.ly/17Qq1Ds
The deputy requested additional units to assist with a vehicle stop, and additional deputies and officers from the Ridgecrest Police Department and California Highway Patrol responded. After the additional units had arrived the deputy attempted to stop the suspect vehicle. The driver, later identified as 39-year-old Sergio Munoz, refused to yield and the deputy and assisting officers initiated a vehicle pursuit, officials said.
Officers continued to pursue Munoz through the City of Ridgecrest as he failed to stop. Munoz began driving erratically and throwing objects from the window of the vehicle. At one point Munoz stopped the vehicle and the trunk of the vehicle was opened, exposing an adult male and female who were in the trunk of the car, officials said.
The trunk was then closed by either the man or woman, and Munoz drove away as officers continued to pursue him, officials said.
During the pursuit Munoz began driving into oncoming traffic and firing a gun from the vehicle at oncoming motorists and officers. Munoz also began reaching into the rear seat area of the vehicle and firing a gun into the trunk of the vehicle where the male and female were located. Munoz eventually began driving south on Hwy. 395 while being pursued. He continued to fire at oncoming motorists and drive into oncoming traffic.
At about 8:00 a.m., Munoz stopped the vehicle on the shoulder of the roadway on Highway 395 about 8 miles north of Highway 58, officials said.
Munoz began firing a gun into the trunk area of the car toward the male and female who were still in the trunk, officials said.
The trunk of the vehicle was then opened and the male and female were able to exit the trunk as Munoz began firing from the back seat area of the car through the open trunk at officers, officials said.
Deputies and officers then began firing at Munoz. Munoz was struck numerous times by the officer’s gunfire. He was pronounced dead at the scene, officials said.
Both the man and woman had suffered numerous gunshots and had major injuries. They were treated at the scene and airlifted to Antelope Valley Hospital. Both are in critical condition but expected to survive. Their identities have not yet been released, officials said.
The female victim who had been fatally shot by Munoz prior to the pursuit was later identified as Brittany Matheny. The male victim who was shot was identified as Thaddeus Meier. The Ridgecrest Police Department is investigating the shooting incident involving Matheny and Meier, officials said.
Eight officers were involved in the shooting, three deputies from the Kern County Sheriff’s Office, four officers from the Ridgecrest Police Department, and one officer from the California Highway Patrol. The Kern County Sheriff’s deputies involved in the shooting are identified as Lieutenant Mike Scott, an 11 ½ year veteran, Deputy Brad Bays, a 6 ½ year veteran, and Deputy James Webb, a 2 ½ year veteran.
The Kern County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the pursuit and officer involved shooting. The deputies involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave pending a review of the incident.
The investigation is ongoing. If anyone has information on this investigation, please call the Kern County Sheriff’s Office at 661-861-3110 or Secret Witness at 661-322-4040. Anonymous text tips can be sent to TIP411 (847411). Just type the keyword “KCSO” prior to the message.