A female motorist was shot and killed in the southeast section of Ripon at about 3:20 a.m. Sunday after fleeing from Stanislaus County deputies in a high speed pursuit that started in Salida.
Deputies attempted a traffic stop at Sisk and Kiernan roads but soon lost sight of the woman’s Volkswagen Passat for some 20 minutes. She was later being located at Sisk and Pirrone roads. Deputies initiated their pursuit as she entered the Highway 99 freeway and headed toward Ripon several miles to the north.
Several residents in the Ripon neighborhood near Manley Road and Tornell Circle told of hearing four gun shots ring out in rapid succession following multiple sirens approaching from the freeway when officers were chasing the motorist from the northbound Highway 99 off ramp. Their pursuit headed down East Main Street to Manley Road, turning south on Manley two blocks to Tornell Circle – north of the Highway 99 Frontage Road.
One neighbor near the corner of Manley and Tornell said he was awake and saw the police “car stop” across the street from his home with Stanislaus County sheriff’s cars coming alongside and behind her vehicle. It was inferred by witnesses, but not confirmed by deputies, that the woman attempted to run over deputies with her vehicle prompting the officers to open fire on her while she was still behind the wheel. It was at that location that small yellow plastic evidence tents were placed over three shell casings on the roadway.
Two rows of small white paper cups were set out upside down on the asphalt, grass and sidewalk areas to show the 200-foot path taken by her car as it drove from the entrance to the circle where it had first stopped and traveled down to the end of Tornell Circle where it crashed through a front window and went half way into a recently purchased home.
Witnesses said that deputies were able to get the woman out of the car and attempted CPR in an effort to save her life. The CPR was then continued by Ripon Fire Department medics but to no avail. She died at the scene, deputies said.
Jeremy Grace who lives on the corner across from the traffic stop and subsequent shooting scene said the sirens woke him up when he heard, “pop-pop-pop” that sounded like gun shots. He said officers “started pouring into the neighborhood and it was super loud” as he jumped out of bed. Grace and his wife have lived in the area for six years, saying, “We never expected to see anything like this.”
A second neighbor living next door to Grace, Tim Bloemher, said he was outside his house on Tornell at 3:20 a.m. behind the Swiss Club when the police cars came into the neighborhood with sirens blaring.
“I first thought the noise was coming from the freeway,” he said. “We have a quiet street with few incidents in the past.”
Retired college educator Jeff Wever, who lives several blocks to the east of the shooting, said he was awake and heard four distinct reports that sounded like gun shots in rapid fire succession coming from beyond his home.
Ripon officers set up road blocks to keep local traffic away from the scene at East Main Street and Manley Road and on Tornell Avenue from the east and the south side of Manley Road for any surface street traffic traveling north. They were aided by VIPS volunteers. A young sixth grade boy from Weston School, Liam Ferris, who lives at the corner of Manley and East Main Street left his home around 10 a.m. taking officers at the road block bottles of water in case they needed them.
A little while later, a Ripon woman drove by the officers and asked if she could bring them some refreshments. They responded that they were OK, but thanked the lady for her kindness.
Investigators from the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office and the Department of Justice Ripon Crime Lab also joined in the investigation with the lead agency being the Ripon Police Department and the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office providing back up in the case.
Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Public Information Officer Sgt. Anthony Bejaran said more information on the case will be released to the media today along with the name of the deceased woman after her family has been notified.
The sheriff’s deputy was placed on administrative leave for three days, according to department protocol in shooting situations. No San Joaquin County deputies or Ripon officers were injured in the incident.
The road closures were lifted about 11 hours after the incident began.
To contact Glenn Kahl, email firstname.lastname@example.org.