Local News

Wednesday, Sep 18 2013 06:00 PM

Police say suspect fired at officers during traffic stop that led to two deaths

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    The tranquil setting of the Four Points Sheraton on California Avenue was disrupted early on the morning of Sept. 16 when a shooting occurred between two men — one of them a police informant — and Bakersfield Police. The informant and a second man were killed and two officers were injured.

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    Police tape is wrapped around trees in front of the Four Points Sheraton on California Avenue in Bakersfield after a shooting Sept. 16.

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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

Bakersfield police said Wednesday that officers opened fire on two men in the parking lot of a hotel earlier this week after one of the men -- wanted for assault with a deadly weapon -- pulled a gun and shot at officers.

Both men died in the shootout and Officer Daniel Brewer suffered a gunshot wound to the head but has since been released from a local hospital. Police said they recovered the handgun 32-year-old Justin Bryan Harger used to attack them.

Police revealed late Wednesday afternoon that they'd received information Harger was wanted by the U.S. Marshals Service and was occupying an SUV, possibly a Jeep. They also learned he was going to the Four Points Sheraton Hotel at 5101 California Ave.

Officers conducted surveillance on the area and waited for Harger to arrive, police said. It was just after 12:30 a.m. when Harger pulled into the parking lot with passenger Jorge Joel Ramirez and police stopped the vehicle.

Harger and Ramirez immediately got out of the vehicle and Harger shot at the officers, police said. The officers returned fire.

In addition to the injury suffered by Brewer, Officer Rick Wimbish suffered a minor injury to his leg and was treated and released. The injury was not a gunshot, police said.

There were five officers involved in the shooting, the others being Ryan Vaughan, Jess Beagley and Chad Garrett.

Police said Harger had previously been convicted of drug possession, felony evading officers using a vehicle, drug transportation, forgery and being a felon in possession of a gun. The prior convictions of Ramirez, 34, were drug possession for sales, carrying a loaded gun in public and multiple domestic violence convictions.

Ramirez had a protective order against him and was on parole for possession of stolen property, police said.

The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information is asked to call the BPD at 327-7111.

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