NAPA COUNTY, Calif. (BCN/KTVU) - The Napa County Sheriff's office has released body camera video of a deputy who shot and killed a man sitting in his car alongside a rural road near Napa late Sunday night, a sheriff's spokesman said.
The suspect, identified as Javier Hernandez Morales, was sitting in his Honda facing the wrong way in the 1100 block of Henry Road about two miles southwest of Napa at about 11 p.m. Sunday when a sheriff's deputy drove by.
Napa County Sheriff's spokesman Henry Wofford said the suspect fired first, from his car, at the deputy.
Deputy Riley Jarecki returned fire, killing the suspect, Wofford said.
"It's been a difficult couple of days but we're so thankful," Napa County Sheriff John Robertson told KTVU. "I'm so thankful she got right on her radio, did exactly what she was trained to do, and we're proud of her not giving up and fighting to the end."
Jarecki, who was on the job for about six months and is in her 20s, did not suffer any physical injuries. She has been placed on administrative leave. She is a former Calistoga police officer and the third-generation in her family to serve in law enforcemet. Her grandfather served with the Napa Police Department, and her father is a Napa sheriff's sergeant.
The sheriff quickly released body camera of the shooting, showing that Morales was cooperative at first when Jarecki started talking to him.
"Can I look around to make sure?" she asks him as she circles the car, peering inside with a flashlight.
"Wait right there, don't move, okay?"The video shows him shrugging and says "no problem."
When Jarecki reaches the driver, she speaks to him again.
"Roll down the window, roll down the window," she urges, and he slowly lowers the window, then suddenly swings his right hand toward her holding a 22-caliber revolver.
He fires more than once, as Jarecki jumps back and alerts dispatch, "shots fired, shots fired."
Then she unloads her weapon into the car, firing at least 15 rounds, killing him.
"It's graphic, it's brutal, and it's sudden," Napa County Undersheriff Jon Crawford said at a news briefing Wednesday afternoon. "It's pretty obvious to us that he intended to kill her and how she wasn't hit? I'm going to call that divine intervention."
The investigation is in the early stages and is being conducted by the Napa County Major Crimes Task Force, comprising investigators with the Napa County Sheriff's Office, Napa Police Department and the Napa County District Attorney's Office.
he Sheriff describes Jarecki as doing well under the circumstances, and expresses confidence she will return to work in a few weeks, with all the help and support she might need. .
"When you're in that situation, when you're in a gunbattle, you want to win, and she did beautifully, she did what she was trained to do," said Sheriff Robertson.
At the roadside where the incident happened, someone has placed a bouquet, presumably for Hernandez Morales.
A source toldTVU the former farm worker had been deported twice, but the sheriff did not address his immigration status.
Robertson says the confrontation illustrates how something as routine as a traffic stop can become lethal in an instant.
"You never know what you're going to encounter," he said, "what you're going to have to deal with, and how that night is going to end."
KTVU's Debora Villalon contribruted to this report.