Investigation continues into officer-involved shooting
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) Police officers and investigators were back at the scene of a shooting where two suspects were killed. Five offices have now been identified as being involved in the incident very early Monday morning.
The two injured policemen are reported to be doing well.
Officer Daniel Brewer is the one who suffered a gunshot to the head, which officials have called a "moderate" wound. Late Tuesday, Eyewitness News was told Brewer has been released from the hospital.
The officer with minor injuries is Rick Wimbish, and on Tuesday it was reported that he was "doing better" and resting at home. Police said Wimbish suffered a minor injury, not related to the gunfire.
Meanwhile at about noon on Tuesday, a number of officers and investigators with BPD were back in the hotel parking lot where the incident happened. They were tight-lipped, only indicating more information would come out later.
It was about 12:30 a.m. on Monday, when officers reportedly tried to make a traffic stop on a car occupied by two suspects. Gunfire erupted shortly after the officers made contact, according to the department. Both suspects were hit by officers' shots and pronounced dead at the scene.
Eyewitness News has learned one of those suspects was supposed to be in court on Tuesday for an arrest from four weeks before. Court records show Jorge Ramirez, 34, had been picked up Aug. 14 on drug charges. The investigation report shows officers had searched Ramirez' home and found "a large amount of methamphetamine, a scale, packaging and currency which are consistent with the sales of narcotics."
Documents filed in court on this case show Ramirez was also accused of possessing ammunition, a violation because he had been previously convicted on drug charges. A check of Kern County court records shows a series of convictions for Ramirez that include various drug charges, spousal abuse, and making threats. He served a number of prison sentences for the prior convictions.
The other suspect killed in the incident has a similar record. Justin Bryan Harger, 32, was just profiled as a fugitive sought by U.S. Marshals for an incident on Aug. 21. Their alert says Harger was "identified by the Bakersfield Police Department as an armed shooting suspect." It adds Harger should be considered armed and dangerous, and has a history of violence and firearms.
A check of court records shows Harger with convictions and arrests stretching back at least 14 years. Those cases involve various drug charges, spousal abuse, forgery, and weapons.
It's not clear yet exactly why the officers tried to pull over the suspects' car, and how they ended up in the parking lot behind the Four Points Sheraton Hotel off California Avenue and Mohawk. On Tuesday, the hotel manager confirmed neither man was a guest at the hotel.
Police have said a suspect's gun was found at the scene. There's no word yet on how many shots were fired.
Neighbors living in apartments behind the parking lot said they heard a lot of gunfire. And on at least one apartment, Eyewitness News saw police technicians marking what appear to be bullet holes from the incident.
The other Bakersfield Police officers involved in the shooting have been identified by the department as Officer Ryan Vaughan, Officer Jess Beagley, and Officer Chad Garrett. These officers have been with BPD from three to 22 years, the department says.
The Bakersfield Police Department asks anyone with information on the incident to call them at (661) 327-7111.