Breaking News Blog

Friday, Nov 30 2012 04:04 PM

Man dead following gunshot wound was CHP officer

BY REBECCA KHEEL Californian staff writer rkheel@bakersfield.com

A man who died after suffering a gunshot wound to the head overnight Friday in northwest Bakersfield was identified as a California Highway Patrol officer, officials said.

Denny Drummond, 43, was an officer at the CHP for 14 years and a military veteran, said CHP Officer Robert Rodriguez. He had a wife and two sons, ages 11 and 17.

At 11:27 p.m. Thursday, sheriff's deputies went to the 2700 block of Karla Street near Rosedale Highway on reports of a man shot and a person screaming, said Kern County Sheriff's spokesman Ray Pruitt. Deputies found Drummond, who was off duty at the time, lying in the road with a gunshot wound to his head.

Drummond was taken to Kern Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 5:20 a.m. Friday, Pruitt said.

Drummond had been in the nearby Lone Oak Lounge before the shooting, Pruitt said. Deputies were reviewing surveillance footage from inside the bar.

Deputies found a handgun believed to be used in the shooting in Drummond's vehicle, officials said. The vehicle and gun were seized as evidence.

Pruitt said the manner of death, homicide or suicide, has not been determined yet. The sheriff's office is still investigating the death, he said. There are no suspects at this time.

A news release from the coroner's office likewise said the cause and manner of death are pending further investigation.

A friend of the Drummond family who answered their front door Friday said the family did not want to talk and referred requests for comment to the CHP.

Rodriguez said he could not release any information on the circumstances of Drummond's death, citing the fact that the sheriff's office is leading the investigation.

Drummond had cancer, which was in remission, Rodriguez said. But he was being evaluated for a possible reoccurrence.

Drummond was the kind of guy who everyone had some sort of affection toward, Rodriguez said. Rodriguez and Drummond worked graveyard shifts together. Drummond loved listening to and playing country music, Rodriguez said.

"It's a difficult time," he said. "That was our brother officer. He will be sorely missed."

Deputies ask that anyone with information call the Kern County Sheriff's Office at 861-3110 or Secret Witness at 322-4040. Anonymous text tips can be sent to TIP411 (847411). Type the keyword "KCSO" before the message.

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