SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (AP)– A 70-year-old, off-duty constable’s deputy braked to prevent two dogs and was rear-ended by a driver who then went out and provided a deadly punch, cops said Wednesday in announcing a murder charge against the man.
The attack occurred on New Year’s Eve and San Bernardino County constable’s Deputy Lawrence Falce was taken off life support two days later on.
Surveillance video from a nearby shop recorded the encounter, which lasted just about a minute.
After the fender-bender, Falce and a man police identified as Alonzo Leron Smith got out of their cars and trucks, exchanged words and motioned at each other. Smith then delivered a single punch to the face and Falce fell backward, his head striking the pavement.
“Our company believe that he was knocked unconscious practically right away and he never ever did regain consciousness,” San Bernardino Cops Chief Jarrod Burguan said at a press conference.
Smith returned in his Ford Explorer and the video showed a truck ramming it to aim to keep him from driving off. Smith handled to drive away but was apprehended hours later on, police stated.
The 30-year-old San Bernardino male pleaded innocent on Wednesday to murder with special circumstances.
Smith is a gang member who has invested much of his adult life in and out of lockups. In 2015, he was released after serving two years of a 12-year sentence for offering cannabis, San Bernardino County District Lawyer Michael Ramos said.
“This individual has to invest the rest of his life in prison,” Ramos said.
Falce worked 36 years as a deputy constable. He also collaborated search-and-rescue volunteers.
“He was a mentor and a terrific partner to many deputies who had the benefit to deal with him,” Constable John McMahon said.
Falce was the earliest member of the 3,700-member department, which does not have a necessary retirement age however requires deputies to pass training exercises a number of times a year to guarantee they still can do the job, spokesperson Cindy Bachman said.
“He invested all of those years generally patrolling the community he lived in,” she stated.
Falce is survived by his veteran sweetheart as well as a sis, the sheriff said.
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