A sheriff’s deputy in California died after a citizen-involved punching caused the off-duty officer to fall–resulting in his head striking the pavement.
San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Deputy Lawrence Falce was allegedly rear-ended by Alonzo Leron Smith on New Year’s Eve after the deputy braked to avoiding hitting a dog in the middle of the road.
Surveillance footage captured by a nearby store shows the aftermath of that minor fender-bender turned murder charge.
After the two men exit their vehicles and engage in a brief conversation, Smith appears to punch Falce in the head, sending him crumbling to the pavement. The fall knocked Falsce unconscious. The sheriff’s deputy then slipped into a coma and never woke up–Falce was removed from life support on Tuesday night.
Smith was charged with murder on Wednesday, according to San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan. In comments to the Los Angeles Times, San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael Ramos said:
This person needs to spend the rest of his life in prison. We need to get this career criminal off the streets who’s been in prisons and jails ever since he was able to be tried as an adult.
After the ultimately fatal blow, Smith allegedly fled the scene.
An unidentified witness who attempted to stop Smith spoke with local news station, KTLA 5. They said:
I was just so, so shocked. My instincts just kind of kicked in. He jumped in his car and tried to leave, so I rammed him once and then I backed up and he was able to go around my actual truck, so I rammed him a second time in the back of his car and spun him out across the street and into that actual tree.
Smith was apprehended roughly 12 hours later. He pleaded not guilty to the murder charge.
[image via screengrab/KTLA 5]