The Kings County Sheriff’s Office released details that led up to the fatal deputy-involved shooting of a 23-year-old man Thursday night, who they say was on a multi-day crime spree.
Around 10 p.m., a deputy observed a vehicle in the area of 19th Avenue and Highway 198 that matched the description of a vehicle connected to a Fresno County Sheriff’s Office case.
A deputy tried to stop the suspect, now identified as Blayne Erwin Morris, 23, but he wouldn’t pull over. Along with the Kings County Sheriff’s Office, the Lemoore Police Department, the Avenal Police Department, and the California Highway Patrol ground and air units chased the vehicle.
The chase ended in the area west of Gale Avenue and Avenal Cutoff Road where he was found about an hour later laying in a field. As a deputy approached him once caught by a K-9 officer, he rolled over, aimed a gun at a deputy and was shot once.
“The weapon possessed by the suspect was a large caliber handgun loaded with 6 bullets with the cocking mechanism cocked to the full open position ready to be fired,” described the sheriff’s office.
EMS arrived on scene and pronounced him dead. Four deputies involved in the incident have been placed on administrative leave, the sheriff’s office confirms.
Deputies say Morris had been on a multi-day crime spree around Fresno and San Benito counties. He allegedly stole at least two trucks, a trailer and several pieces of farm and ag equipment.
He also stole a rifle, according to deputies, and used it to shoot a property owner who had tried to stop him in the middle of one of his thefts in San Benito.
Several law enforcement agencies are investigating the crimes and incident.