July 26, 2016 at approximately 12:05 am, Hemet Police Department began receiving calls of shots fired on Elk St and Devonshire Ave. It’s not an uncommon thing to hear a shots fired call out here, but most of them turn out being unfounded, fireworks, someone shooting in the air or an actual shooting, but once police arrive on scene, the suspect is nowhere to be found and fortunately nobody was injured. What happened the morning of July 26 was something completely unexpected and perhaps one of the worst scenes I’ve witnessed since moving to Hemet in 2014.
Calls began to pour into HPD’s dispatch center about shots fired in an alley known well by police at the for the amount of criminal activity that occurs there. Some witnesses reported 12 to 16 shots fired. Others reported a vehicle fled the scene after the shots were fired. Numerous shell casings were scattered at the entrance of the alley on Devonshire Ave. Police responded to the 200 block of North Elk St in less than two minutes from the first call received by dispatch.
Allegedly the shooting was gang related and regardless of the amounts of shots fired into the alley, only one victim was struck by gunfire and fortunately wasn’t severely injured. The amount of gunfire could’ve possibly made the situation worse with multiple victims being hit, but none other than one woman who was celebrating her birthday party was shot.
When first responders arrived on scene, police was met by a very hostile crowd of people. Riverside County Sheriffs and California Highway Patrol arrived to assist and control the unruly crowd which was interfering with fire fighters and AMR in their attempts to provide aid to the wounded victim and have her transported to the ambulance.
Angry people in the crowd were yelling about the police not doing anything, that they took too long to get there and acted hostile towards Officers and media. Some even threatened to break my cameras and even threatened my life. Well; this comes with the job and it happens in similar scenes to me all the time. When approaching situations such as this one as a journalist, there is always a level of risk involved and it’s something every crime journalist knows quite well.
Officers managed to get the crowd controlled enough so that the injured woman could be transported to the hospital for treatment. The woman was shot in the back and after receiving medical care, is expected to survive.
Officers closed the area with crime scene tape and initiated an investigation. In the meantime, there were reports of fights continuing in the area. One man was sitting in the back of a police vehicle on Elk St, having water being poured onto his face by officers who were helping the man relieve himself of the burning sensation he was enduring after being pepper sprayed by police for being uncooperative.
The investigation surrounding the shooting continued overnight and is still ongoing. As of this moment, police has made one arrest but the specifics behind the arrest have not yet been public due to an ongoing and active investigation. No further information will be released at this time, other than what is written below in the press release from Hemet Police Department. Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact Investigator Doug Klinzing at (951)765-2423.
Below is a video report of the incident followed by pictures.