Teacher Killed In Scuffle With Deputy - NBC 7 San Diego

Teacher Killed In Scuffle With Deputy



    The death of South Park teacher Gabriel Vanegas has devastated his students and his family.

    The 33-year old man died after an argument involving an off-duty San Diego County sheriff’s deputy at the Rancho Valley Mobile Home Park in El Cajon, according to investigators.

    "I just hope it was an accident, "said Arturo Vanegas from the family's home in Chula Vista.  "If it wasn't, they're going to pay."

    On Sunday night, Gabriel Vanegas died after getting into a scuffle with an off-duty San Diego County sheriff's deputy.

    Teacher Killed in Fight with Off-Duty Deputy

    [DGO] Teacher Killed in Fight with Off-Duty Deputy
    A Chula Vista family is asking how their loved one died in a scuffle with an off-duty San Diego County sheriff's deputy.
    (Published Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2011)

    "We are very suspicious," Arturo Vanegas said. 

    According to homicide investigators Gabriel Vanegas had just dropped off his two year old son with the boy's mother, who's also Gabriel's ex-girlfriend.

    Witnesses say the two started arguing about Gabriel's driving.  Earlier neighbors reported hearing screeching tires around 8 p.m.

    Deputy May Not Face Charges in Deadly Shooting

    [DGO] Deputy May Not Face Charges in Deadly Shooting
    A man died after a fight at the Rancho Valley Mobile Home Park near Old Highway 8 around 8 p.m. Sunday. The woman's boyfriend, an off duty sheriffs corrections deputy, heard the commotion and got involved. Moments later the ex-boyfriend was unresponsive in the street.
    (Published Monday, Feb. 7, 2011)

    Detectives say Gabriel Vanegas began pushing his ex-girlfriend into his truck.  Her current boyfriend, the off-duty deputy and her 16-year old brother ran out to help.

    The altercation ended with Gabriel Vanegas lying unresponsive on the ground.

    "At this point there's nothing to suggest there was anything of a criminal nature that went on, on the part of the brother or the off-duty deputy,"said Lt. Dennie Brugos.

    Family members want to know what role the deputy played in the altercation.

    "They say there are no weapons involved,""said cousin Angel Gutierrez. "To me he is a weapon. He is trained to hurt people. That's his job."

    Family members say Gabriel suffered from a bump on the back of his head.  Investigators are waiting for autopsy results to determine an exact cause of death.

    Gabriel was a father of two young boys and a teacher at McGill School of Success in South Park.

    "He was the perfect guy, he was a teacher, loving father,"said Arturo Vanegas of his brother.

    His students got the news of his death on Monday morning.

    "Kids were crying, they couldn't believe it, their teacher passed away,"said Arturo.

    Dozens of pictures and letters of sympathy from students were dropped off at the Vanegas family home in Chula Vista on Tuesday.

    Homicide investigators also spoke to family members for about five hours about Gabriel on Tuesday.

    But Arturo said they didn't talk about the case.  "They wanted to know who he was, when he was alive, they wanted to see how Gabriel used to live."

    Detectives said Monday there was nothing to suggest a crime had occurred.

    It's up to sheriff's command to determine if the off-duty deputy involved in this fight will be placed on administrative leave pending the investigation, according to homicide Lt. Dennis Brugos. 

    NBCSanDiego has learned the name of the deputy involved in the altercation, but it is our policy not to identify him unless he is charged with a crime.