Local News

Thursday, Jan 09 2014 08:01 PM

Police shooting that killed informant found within policy

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    A body is removed from the rear parking lot of the Four Points Sheraton on California Avenue on Sept. 16 following a gun battle where two people, including a police informant, were killed and two officers were injured. Evidence markers could be seen near the shooting area.

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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN

A Bakersfield Police Department review board has determined that all shots fired by officers in a September incident killing two men -- including a police informant -- were within department and state and federal guidelines.

Police said Officers Rick Wimbish, Daniel Brewer, Jess Beagley, Ryan Vaughan and Chad Garrett have returned to duty following the Dec. 23 board ruling. Police Chief Greg Williamson was unavailable for comment Thursday, the day the findings were released.

The Sept. 16 shootings of Jorge Joel Ramirez and wanted criminal Justin Bryan Harger gained considerable attention after it was revealed that Ramirez had been acting as a police informant. Police said Ramirez contacted them that evening and said he would lead officers to Harger's location.

Harger, 32, and Ramirez, 34, knew each other and spent part of the evening together. Police said Ramirez failed to provide officers with key information, including that Harger was armed with a handgun and wearing a wig.

Ramirez also gave inaccurate information about the type of vehicle he and Harger were traveling in. Police drove to three locations that night trying to meet with Harger and Ramirez, finally catching up to their SUV after midnight in the parking lot of the Four Points Sheraton at 5101 California Ave.

Ramirez got out of the front passenger side of the SUV. Police said he refused officers' demands to get back in.

Ramirez turned as officers approached, and at that point one of the officers was shot in the face. Police said both Harger and Ramirez were killed in the ensuing gunfight.

The injured officer was released from the hospital later that morning.

Los Angeles-based attorney Mark Geragos, representing the family of Ramirez, filed a claim Dec. 13 against the city of Bakersfield. Damages or injuries listed on the claim include violation of civil and constitutional rights, and wrongful death.

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