HESPERIA – A San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputy shot and killed a teenage burglary suspect on Sunday.
The frenzied pursuit that ultimately ended with Baljos’ death at a vacant home included an injured off-duty deputy, a California Highway Patrol helicopter, an armed civilian and on-duty sheriff’s deputies.
A coroner’s report, which originally listed the name of the 18-year-old suspect as “Blajos,” said he broke into the back door of an off-duty deputy’s home on the 17900 block of Lemon Street.
Baljos demanded the keys to a car. The off-duty deputy confronted and chased Baljos, who stabbed the deputy in the chest as he escaped. The injured off-duty deputy got into a car and trailed Baljos, at the same time reporting the incident to authorities using his cell phone.
The off-duty deputy tracked Baljos to a vacant field near Mauna Loa Street and Timberlane Avenue, where the cornered suspect again came at his pursuer, attempting to stab him with the screwdriver.
During the attack, an armed neighbor witnessed the struggle and fired a warning shot into the air. That same neighbor reportedly fired several rounds at the fleeing suspect.
By the time sheriff’s units had arrived, Baljos had slipped out of the vacant field by traversing adjoining backyards, and was being chased by the armed neighbor.
Sheriff’s units pursued Baljos to the front yard of a vacant Lemon Street home where a next door witness told authorities: “The cop had told him, ‘Let me see your hands.’ At that point the guy had lunged toward the cop and that’s when the cop fired, I believe three or four rounds, and the guy dropped to the (ground).”
According to the same witness, “Baljos charged the (on-duty) deputy and grabbed his gun, forcing the deputy to shoot Baljos,” said a sheriff’s official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
During the investigation, a neighbor to the civilian who fired the warning shot came home and discovered their home had been burglarized. “Property belonging to that neighbor was located in Baljos’ pocket,” said sheriff’s reports.
The off-duty deputy was transported to a medical center, getting treatment for non-life threatening injuries. The incident is under investigation by the San Bernardino County Sheriff Department Homicide Division.