A man charged with shooting a Humboldt County sheriff's deputy with a 12-gauge shotgun in the shoulder early Sunday morning was an illegal Mexican alien who had already been deported in 2015.
Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal said both the injured deputy and the suspect are in stable condition but the deputies identify has not been released at this time. The shooter is Hugo Parral-Aguirre, 30, who is a Mexican national in America illegally.
Honsal said the sheriff's deputy could have been killed if the shot was 2 inches lower. "It has become a very, very violent place and we see it out in the hills, we see it in our communities," Honsal said.
"We are not immune to it because we wear a uniform. It’s very disturbing to me that, again, that this is a deputy sheriff who was there to investigate, to help people. And instead of someone giving up they decide to shoot it out with law enforcement," Honsal continued.
The incident took place shortly after midnight on Sunday when a neighbor reported a dispute between two men at the 700 block Coppini Lane in Ferndale. A deputy and a sheriff Sargent arrived at the scene around 12:50 a.m. in marked vehicles and approached a small structure on the property.
A woman ran out of the door of the residence saying she had been held against her will by Parral-Aguirre who was not supposed to be there. Parral-Aguirre also tried to shoot the woman's boyfriend earlier that evening. The woman also warned deputies that the intruder was armed.
Deputies encountered Parral-Aguirre and ordered him to drop his weapon, the suspect then fired one round from a 12-gauge shotgun striking a female deputy in the left shoulder above her bulletproof vest.
Both deputies returned fire while struggling to find cover. Officers from the Eureka, Arcata, Rio Dell, Ferndale, Humboldt State University police departments, California Highway Patrol and California Department of Fish and Wildlife responded to the scene.
SWAT officers found Parral-Aguirre on a bed with three gunshot wounds and transported him to St. Joseph Hospital by ambulance with the wounded deputy. Parral-Aguirre was treated and booked into jail on felony attempted murder of a peace officer and false imprisonment charges.
Parral-Aguirre was arrested in 2008 for battery and was transferred to a federal prison before being deported back to Mexico. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency also deported Parral-Aguirre in 2015.
Although Parral-Aguirre is here illegally, Honsal said, "Once there is a holding order by the superior court for these felony charges, he is eligible to be turned over to ICE at that time. But we’re not focused on that. We’re focused on our criminal charges here and proving those criminal charges in our county."
Honsal went on to say, "My deputies did an outstanding job. Number one, protecting the female and protecting themselves. They reacted exactly like they were supposed to do, exactly as they were trained to do. … I think they displayed considerable courage through this whole incident. I’m very happy, very thankful that a deputy didn’t get killed over this."
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