The deputies involved in a shooting with a man in a stolen van accused of ramming patrol cars during a pursuit through Valley Center were identified Tuesday.
Deputies Aaron Boer and Gordon McCarthy opened fire on two separate occasions on suspect Kevin Meza, 22, during a chase early Sunday, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department (SDSO) said. Boer has been a deputy with the SDSO for a decade, while McCarthy has been with the department for 16 years.
The deputies, of the SDSO's Valley Center substation, tried to pull over Meza that morning near Valley View Casino Center. At first, Meza stopped but then he took off, nearly crashing into a deputy's patrol vehicle. A pursuit ensued.
Meza soon stopped on Thundernut Lane and deputies approached him on foot, SDSO Lt. Rick Williams said. When Meza tried striking a deputy with his stolen van, at least one of the deputies shot at the approaching vehicle.
Then, Meza drove off again, speeding down Thundernut Lane. Faced with a dead end, Meza spun his car around and careened towards the deputies for the second time. Williams said Meza slammed into a patrol vehicle and struck another head-on.
In this moment, deputies fired shots another time at Meza. At this point, the stolen car was too damaged to drive further.
Meza's dog, who was inside the car during the chase, was struck by bullets. He's been recovering at a veterinary hospital since Sunday. There was no update available on the dog's condition.
Meza managed to dodge all of the bullets but was hospitalized for non-life threatening injuries suffered when he crashed his car during the pursuit.
The SDSO said one of the deputies involved in the incident was hospitalized briefly for whiplash. Sheriff's officials did not specify which of the two deputies involved in the shooting received medical treatment.
Meza fought with deputies before he was taken into custody on charges of stealing and possessing a stolen vehicle, evading a police officer, resisting arrest and multiple counts of assault on a police officer. No further details were revealed about the altercation.
Meza is being held at the Vista Detention Center on a bail of $335,000.
If anyone has information related to the deputy-involved shooting, they are asked to call the Sheriff's Department at (858)974-2321. A reward up to $1,000 is available for tips leading to an arrest.