STOCKTON, California Nov 4 2016-- An off-duty San Joaquin County sheriff's deputy was threatened by two armed, masked men in a northwest Stockton apartment complex Tuesday night when he pulled out his personal gun and fatally shot one of the assailants, Stockton police reported.
The second assailant fled through the apartment complex at 3525 W. Benjamin Holt Drive and escaped, according to police.
The assailant who was shot was identified by police as Keenan Bradley, 21. Medics arrived and provided first aid but Bradley died at the scene sometime after the 10:40 p.m. shooting.
A countywide protocol investigation has begun involving Stockton police, the Sheriff's Office, the San Joaquin County District Attorney's Office and the California Department of Justice. State investigators were already on the scene Wednesday morning assisting with the collection of evidence and speaking with residents of the large apartment complex.
Police released a photo of the handgun allegedly used by Bradley. Department spokesman Officer Joe Silva said it was loaded and reported stolen. Silva described the incident as a confrontation and made the following statement after the unidentified deputy provided his account.
"When the off-duty deputy was walking (from his car) through the parking lot, he was confronted by two armed suspects wearing masks. They pointed their guns at the deputy's face. He did not know if he was being robbed, being carjacked or was being targeted because he was a deputy. So, fearful for his life, he pulled out his firearm and shot one suspect while the other suspect ran away," Silva said.
Silva said the deputy fired at both suspects, striking only Bradley. He said the deputy fired his personal weapon several times, but he could not say how many times Bradley was struck.
"Any time you have suspects who are armed and wearing masks to conceal their identities, it is a very violent and dangerous situation for anybody walking through a parking lot," Silva said. "These suspects were going to target whoever they saw walking; just based on their actions, they were definitely here to target someone."
The gun the deputy used was his personal off-duty weapon, not his service weapon, and he is legally allowed to carry it, Silva said.
The motive for the confrontation remains unknown at this time. Silva indicated the mask used by the deceased suspect was made of clear plastic.
Deputy Dave Konecny, a spokesman for the Sheriff's Office, confirmed his department would be releasing the deputy's identity at a later date. He referred all other questions to the Stockton Police Department, serving as the lead agency in the investigation.
The shooting occurred at the 528-unit Marina Village West apartments, the largest apartment complex in San Joaquin County. It is gated and fenced, patrolled by on-site security and monitored by surveillance cameras, according to management.
"We do the best we can to keep this place safe," manager Marianne Garibaldi said, noting that Tuesday night's shooting is an unusual occurrence at the leafy, landscaped complex.
"We don't have problems like this here. We have one of the lowest crime rates around," she said.
As part of the official investigation that stretched well into Wednesday, authorities cordoned off a large section of the parking lot and grounds, restricting residents' movements and dozens of vehicles from leaving.
"We are personally giving them rides to work if they're stuck," Garibaldi said of any resident who called her office to report they needed assistance.