VICTORVILLE – The non-fatal officer-involved shooting involving 32-year-old suspect Strader Surratt on January 6, 2015, was found to be justified San Bernardino County District Attorney’s officials said.
According to all of the compiled evidence, including witness statements, at around 10:40 p.m. that evening deputies spotted a Jeep Cherokee that they believed was possibly connected with drug activity. The deputies followed the vehicle southbound on Hesperia Road, then westbound on Seneca Road. The vehicle then went south on Mojave Drive and deputies lost visual on the vehicle temporarily. They located the vehicle going north on Rodeo Drive then east on Seneca Road to north on Navarro Road.
The deputies noticed that the vehicle’s tags were expired, so they conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle. The vehicle stopped and the deputies attempted to make contact with the driver. When they approached, they saw three occupants of the vehicle. The driver, the passenger (Shrader Surratt) and a backseat passenger. The driver was asked to step out of the vehicle and consent to a search, which he did.
The deputy believed that Surratt was under the influence and asked him to exit the vehicle. Surratt acted as if he was going to get out of the vehicle, but according to witness statements, he leaned back over the center console of the vehicle and made a motion toward his waistband. The deputy could see something brown with metal in his waistband and believed he was pulling out a handgun. The deputy backed away from the vehicle as he drew his handgun. He fired once or twice toward Surratt while he was backing away from the vehicle. The other deputy heard the gunshots and believed there was a gun battle with Surratt taking place. He removed his handgun and began firing in the direction of Surratt.
Surratt ran from the vehicle into the open desert. Deputies called for assistance from additional ground units. Deputies searched the surrounding area to no avail. The Sheriff’s helicopter was called to assist in locating Surratt. Surratt was located in an open desert area around ¼ mile from the scene hiding in a large bush. Once ground deputies approached the area Sheriff’s aviation was directing them to, Surratt fired his weapon. Deputies returned fire, striking him several times. “
Surratt went to the ground but continued to struggle with deputies who were trying to arrest him and had his hands under his torso,” District Attorney’s officials said. “Surratt was eventually handcuffed. Deputies searched the area and found a handgun in the immediate area of where Surratt was found lying on the ground.”
Evidence of the shooting including two 9mm fired cartridge casings and the gun, a Browning Arms 9mm semi-automatic pistol were located in the area near Surratt. “Detectives were able to determine that the firearm had jammed during the shooting which prevented Surratt from firing any more rounds. The live rounds that were removed from the firearm matched the fired cartridge casings found in the bush where Surratt was hiding. The firearm had a bullet strike on the front portion of the grip which most likely caused the malfunction of the firearm,” officials added.
Surratt was subsequently charged with five counts of Attempted Murder of a Police Officer, five counts of Assault on a Police Officer, one count of Felon in Possession of a Firearm, and an enhancement for Discharge of a Firearm. Surratt pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial. Meanwhile, the deputies involved in the shooting were cleared of any wrongdoing with the findings being that they were reacting to “apparent and immediate threat of death and/or serious bodily injury to them, their fellow law enforcement deputies and to any civilians in the immediate area.”
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This article was written by a staff member of the 24/7 Headline News Organization
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