Aftermath of deputy-involved shooting felt in Valencia Industrial Center

Sheriff's deputies investigate the scene of a deputy-involved shooting in the Valencia Industrial Center on Thursday, Sept. 12. 2019. Cory Rubin/The Signal

The mood inside a Valencia clinic with a front-row seat Thursday to a deputy-involved shooting that left a 35-year-old man dead was noticeably grim.

Patients filing into the Concentra clinic on Rye Canyon Road asked about the “commotion” that unfolded less than 20 feet from the panel windows that wrap around the waiting room.

Staffers pointed to the spot where deputies fought with a bare-chested man until one deputy shot him twice in the upper torso.

“Awful” and “terrible” were the words staffers shared with inquiring patients.

Asked if the man killed was a client of the clinic, clinic Director Rita Contreras said: “I can’t talk about anything that happened.”

When a receptionist was asked for details, she grabbed a tissue, dabbed her eyes and said: “I can’t talk about it.”

The clinic’s business owner phoned the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station at 12:40 p.m. to report a shirtless man “yelling and screaming” near the clinic.

A deputy responding to the call radioed for assistance after the man attacked him, taking the deputy’s radio and taser.

Other deputies responding to the call for help also got into a fight with the man, with one of the deputies suffering a facial injury. 

That deputy fired two shots into the upper torso of the suspect, killing him, sheriff’s investigators said.

Detectives with the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department’s Homicide Bureau closed out the day Thursday interviewing clinic staffers and the employees of other businesses on the outer edge of the Valencia Industrial Center, between The Old Road and Avenue Stanford.

On Friday, detectives were still not releasing the man’s identity.

Sarah Ardalani, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner, said a case number was assigned to the deceased man.

“Identification is pending notification of next of kin,” she said.

“The decedent is a Hispanic male in his 30’s,” she said, noting an autopsy is pending.

Five SCV deputy-involved shootings in six years

Thursday’s deputy-involved shooting brings to five the number of such shootings by Santa Clarita Valley deputies during the past five years. The previous four were:

  • Steven Burke Pettersen, 47, of Canyon Country was fatally shot multiple times in the upper torso on Jan. 30, 2014, by deputies after he reportedly moved toward them with a knife in his hand. 
  • Bruce D. Graham, 53, was shot and killed at his Castaic home Oct. 6, 2013, after emerging from the garage holding a rifle. He refused to follow commands to drop the rifle and then pointed it at deputies, who in fear for their safety fired at the suspect, a news release issued at the time said. “Both shootings were deemed justifiable by the (Justice System Integrity Division of the District Attorney’s Office), and the district attorney’s files were closed,” former sheriff’s spokeswoman Nicole Nishida said of the shootings in 2014 and 2016, referring to Pettersen and Graham.
  • Miguel Angel Hernandez, 39, was shot and killed near Shangri-La and Nathan Hill drives in Canyon Country on Jan. 14, 2016, after he was pulled over by a deputy. In March 2018, a $2.7 million settlement agreement was reached between Los Angeles County and the Hernandez family.
  • Bill Bowers, 51, was shot once in the chest and killed on Castaic Road near Ridge Route Road after being shot once in the chest on Aug. 2, 2016. In March, county supervisors authorized a $4.6 million settlement in the wrongful death lawsuit filed by the Bowers family.

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