KCSO review board clears deputy in fatal shooting in Northeast Bakersfield

Kern County Sheriff's Office
Posted at 12:43 PM, Sep 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-18 15:45:08-04

A Kern County Sheriff's Office review board has determined a deputy acted within department policy in the fatal shooting of a man in Northeast Bakersfield.

The incident happened on August 20th. According to the investigation, a man later identified as 36-year-old Cesar Sanchez Ruiz was driving erratically, which generated several calls to the California Highway Patrol. During the erratic driving, Ruiz’s vehicle lost a tire. He then pulled into a parking lot and sped to the rear area of Tony's Firehouse where the vehicle became disabled.

Ruiz left the vehicle and tried to get in the back door of the business however employees inside held the door closed. The suspect walked to the front of the business and quickly approached a vehicle in the parking lot. By this time, the Ruiz’s behavior had drawn the attention of several patrons eating outside in front of the business. Several patrons approached Ruiz after he began trying to break a window of the vehicle.

Ruiz then removed a gun from his waistband and pointed it at the patrons who had confronted him. Deputy Mario Garza, who was off-duty at the time was at the business noticed what was taking place and confronted the suspect. An exchange of gunfire occurred, and Ruiz fell to the ground.

Medical aid was summoned for Ruiz, however, he succumbed to his injuries on the scene.

The Critical Incident Review Board, which consisted of Chief Deputy Damian Nord, Chief Deputy Larry McCurtain, and Commander Michael DeLeon, determined that Deputy Garza acted within departmental policy.