By Shawn Raymundo
A man involved in an altercation with sheriff’s deputies was fatally shot outside the Hotel Miramar on El Camino Real on Wednesday afternoon, Sept. 23, according to authorities.
The shooting occurred after about 1:12 p.m. when two deputies with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department’s homeless outreach team initiated contact with the Black man, Sgt. Dennis Breckner said.
After making contact, a physical altercation ensued wherein deputies wrestled the individual to the ground, eventually leading to the shooting, he explained. At this time in the investigation, Breckner couldn’t confirm whether the man was a homeless individual.
#OCSDPIO Deputy-involved shooting in San Clemente. Suspect is deceased on scene. PIO on scene, more to follow. Media staging on El Camino Real between Ave Cornelio and Ave Ramona.
— OC Sheriff, CA (@OCSheriff) September 23, 2020
“Shortly after they contacted him, a deputy-involved shooting occurred and deputies immediately gave life saving measures,” Breckner said. “Unfortunately, the male is deceased at the scene.”
Breckner said authorities didn’t know the details of what led up to the altercation.
“We don’t know the details of what led up to it and what exactly occurred immediately prior to the physical altercation,” Breckner said when asked whether the man was being arrested. “We just know that deputies had put out a radio request that they contacted a subject and needed additional units.”
Based on surveillance video footage from a nearby business, authorities believe the man attempted to gain control of a deputy’s firearm, Breckner said.
According to Breckner, the video didn’t show the altercation in its entirety, but it showed “what we believe and see is that there does appear to be an attempt to gain control of the deputy’s weapon.”
Authorities were not ready to release the footage Wednesday, Breckner said.
Carrie Braun, spokesperson for OCSD, said the release of the video will be at the discretion of the Orange County District Attorney’s office, which is conducting the investigation into the matter.
“That will be something we work with them on,” she said.
Braun said the two deputies were not transported for medical support. As to whether they have been placed on administrative leave following Wednesday’s shooting, she said deputies typically are placed on leave.
According to Breckner, OCSD will be conducting an internal investigation as well as the DA’s office.
Since the incident, the stretch of El Camino Real from Avenida San Antonio to Avenida San Gabriel has been closed to motorists while authorities conducted their investigation.
Breckner late Wednesday afternoon said the road closure is expected to remain in place for much of the evening.
Shawn Raymundo is the city editor for the San Clemente Times. He graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in Global Studies. Before joining Picket Fence Media, he worked as the government accountability reporter for the Pacific Daily News in the U.S. territory of Guam. Follow him on Twitter @ShawnzyTsunami and follow San Clemente Times @SCTimesNews.