An attempted traffic stop early Thursday morning ended with one man’s death and the arrest of two other individuals following a gun battle with officers, the Bakersfield Police Department said in a news release.
The incident began at just before 3:30 a.m. near McDonald Way and Stockdale Highway in southwest Bakersfield when officers attempted to make an enforcement stop after a driver made an improper turn. The female driver of the vehicle then led officers on a 4 1/2-mile pursuit, which ended about six minutes later in the 800 block of Feliz Drive in southeast Bakersfield.
According to police, when the vehicle stopped, both rear doors opened and a male exited the passenger side and ran from the scene. He was observed by officers to be armed with a firearm.
Another male exited the rear driver’s side door and was quickly taken into custody after attempting to assault an officer, police said. He suffered minor injuries and was treated at Kern Medical Center.
The driver and the front seat passenger, both female, remained in the vehicle, police said in the release.
The armed male led officers on a foot pursuit through the area’s housing complex and fired at the officers several times during the pursuit. The officers returned fire and struck the fleeing shooter. He was pronounced dead at the scene. A firearm was recovered. No officers were injured.
The driver, Marisol Salinas Lopez, 36, of Bakersfield, was arrested on charges of driving with a suspended license, evading an officer, conspiracy, and driver allowing a firearm in vehicle. The surviving male passenger, Nick Matthew Valenzuela, 43, of Bakersfield, was arrested on charges of battery against a peace officer and an outstanding warrant for probation violation. Lopez and Valenzuela were booked into the Kern County Jail.
The female passenger was released.
The name of the deceased male is expected be released by the Kern County Coroner’s Office
There were five officers involved in the shooting, police said. They have been placed on paid administrative leave pending review by the Critical Incident Review Board.
The BPD has declined to release the names of the five officers at this time, said Detective John Ramirez.
Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to call the Bakersfield Police Department at 327-7111.