Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux said two weekend shootings by his deputies on opposite sides of the county involved “two bad guys who didn’t want to go down easily.”
Boudreaux gave new details Monday about the incidents in which his deputies shot and wounded two men apparently trying to harm the officers.
Although both incidents happened the same weekend, neither is a case of civil discontent against law enforcement, Boudreaux said.
The first happened just after noon Saturday in the parking lot of Preet Market at a rural intersection west of Tulare and north of Waukena.
The deputy, whose name was not made public but has several years experience, made a traffic stop of a small pickup. When he checked the license plate number he learned it was a stolen vehicle.
Because having a stolen car is a felony, the deputy pulled his gun and approached the pickup, telling the driver and a male passenger “Let me see your hands” and “Stay in the vehicle.”
The driver revved the engine and backed up, hitting the deputy’s squad car, Boudreaux said. (The passenger complied and was not arrested.)
We don’t shoot to kill. We train to stop the threat.
Mike Boudreaux, Tulare County sheriff
The deputy reached in through the window and tried to grab the wheel and the keys to stop the car, but the driver again backed up and hit the squad car a second time as the deputy’s arm was getting caught in the window, he said.
He opened fire once, hitting Dustin Drennen, 28, in the left side. The bullet punctured Drennen’s lung. He needed surgery and is in a hospital in stable condition.
“We don’t shoot to kill. We train to stop the threat,” Boudreaux said.
Later, investigators learned that Drennen was wanted on a stolen vehicle warrant. He has yet to be charged.
At Boudreaux’s request, the Tulare Police Department is investigating the shooting.
The deputy was treated at a hospital for minor injuries and was placed on paid administrative leave during the investigation.
The second incident happened about 6 p.m. Sunday northeast of Strathmore.
The deputy, who has six months experience and whose name was not released, was not hurt, Boudreaux said.
He had gone to a home on Road 254 (Adams Avenue) to investigate a report that Michael Yocum, 50, had violated a domestic violence restraining order.
The deputy got a description of the man and went looking for him. About eight minutes later, the deputy spotted him walking along a road.
The deputy tried to handcuff him but he put up a fight, Boudreaux said.
“Hand-to-hand combat on the ground” followed, Boudreaux said.
Yocum tried to grab the deputy’s gun and at one point both the deputy and Yocum had their hands on the gun at the same time, Boudreaux said. Yocum was also on top of the deputy at one point.
While on the ground, the deputy fired his gun several times and one bullet hit Yocum’s left arm and another hit his left leg.
The wounds are not life-threatening, but Yocum is in the hospital, the Sheriff’s Department said.
Charges are pending. The Porterville Police Department was asked to investigate and the officer is on paid administrative leave.