Deputy-involved shooting halts I-10 traffic near Whitewater

Taylor Martinez & City News Service

A Riverside County sheriff’s deputy Friday shot and killed a man who authorities said charged the deputy with a tire iron on Interstate 10 near Whitewater.

The man died at the scene of the shooting, which occurred about 8:45 a.m. near Whitewater Canyon Road, according to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. He was not immediately identified.

Sgt. Lionel Murphy told reporters at the scene that the deputy responded to the area on a report that a man was throwing rocks at vehicles, and the deputy saw the suspect smashing the window of a parked car with a tire iron.

The deputy ordered the man to drop the tire iron, but he instead walked toward I-10 and onto the interstate, Murphy said.

The deputy again ordered the man to drop the tire iron on the interstate, but the man instead charged the deputy, wielding the tire iron, Murphy said. The deputy then fired an undisclosed number of gunshots at the man, striking him, the sergeant said.

The deputy, whose name was withheld, wasn’t hurt, Murphy said.

The investigation forced the closure of the entire westbound side of Interstate 10 east of Whitewater Canyon Road. Westbound vehicles were being diverted off I-10 at the Whitewater Canyon Road off-ramp, where they were being allowed to return the interstate, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The Palm Springs Police Department reported heavy traffic on surface streets in the city south of the scene, and urged motorists to avoid the area.

All lanes on I-10 reopened around 4:30pm, but backup is still expected for hours.


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