PALM DESERT – A homicide suspect and two juveniles in a stolen car led authorities on a high speed chase that ended in the arrest of all three.
On the night of Wednesday, December 3rd at approximately 9:00 PM a confrontation occurred between the drivers of two vehicles at Washington Street and Avenue of the States. There was at least one shot was fired and one of the drivers was discovered in his vehicle suffering from a gunshot wound. The victim, Conrado Pizarro, a 26-year-old male from Palm Desert succumbed to his injuries on Friday December 5, making the case a homicide.
During the homicide investigation a white SUV that was identified as the suspect vehicle was determined to be stolen from a residential burglary in the city of Palm Desert. With the vehicle recovered, investigators identified Kurtis Knigge, 18 of La Quinta as a person of interest both in the homicide and in a rash of residential burglaries and vehicle thefts in the cities of La Quinta, Palm Desert, and Rancho Mirage.
On December 11 at 2:50 PM, a K9 deputy from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department identified a stolen white Mercedes sedan, traveling eastbound on Interstate 10, approaching Bob Hope Drive. The deputy attempted to pull the vehicle over on the Interstate 10 off ramp at Bob Hope Drive at which time one of the passengers of the vehicle was identified as Knigge.
The vehicle suddenly accelerated and fled the scene, leading deputies in a vehicle pursuit through the cities of Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Bermuda Dunes, Thousand Palms and Cathedral City. The pursuit ended when the Mercedes collided with an uninvolved vehicle.
The driver and occupants attempted to flee the scene and were apprehended a short distance away with the assistance of the Cathedral City Police Department, the California Highway Patrol Air Unit, and the Coachella Valley Violent Crime Gang Task Force. Kurtis Knigge was apprehended by a Riverside County Sheriff’s Service Dog (K-9) and treated at a local area hospital for resulting injuries. The driver was identified as a 17-year-old juvenile from Beaumont, and the second occupant, a 16-year-old female juvenile of Palm Desert.
The 17-year-old juvenile driver of the stolen vehicle was arrested for felony evading, possession of stolen property, auto theft and felony resisting arrest. The 16-year-old juvenile passenger was arrested on an outstanding arrest warrant. Knigge was booked for homicide, residential burglary, auto theft, resisting arrest and a felony arrest warrant.
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