HEMET (CBSLA.com) — An off-duty U.S. Border Patrol agent was arrested in connection to a fatal shooting in East Hemet on Saturday.
Riverside County sheriff’s deputies responded to a call of an assault with a deadly weapon around 12:47 a.m. in the 41100 block of Toledo Drive in the unincorporated community.
Adam Thomas, 27, of Moreno Valley, was found at the scene suffering from multiple gunshot wounds, according to Deputy Patty Stoyer. Thomas was transported to a nearby hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.
Investigators believe the suspect confronted the victim at a nearby residence and an argument ensued that resulted in the shooting.
John Demery, 40, of Hemet, was arrested following an investigation led by the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department’s Central Homicide Unit.
On Saturday night, KCAL9’s Brittney Hopper reported that a cross, candles and the victim’s picture were resting in the middle of the street where Thomas was shot and killed…
“I had to tell my babies they’re never seeing their dad again,” said the mother of Thomas’ two children. “He had no weapons. He was defenseless. You shot him for no reason. He was running away when he got shot.”
While Riverside County deputies said Thomas was shot multiple times after an argument between the two men, family members said no disagreement took place. They said Thomas was about to go to sleep when the border patrol agent came over looking for a fight.
Family members said the two neighbors had never met prior to the shooting.
Neighbors who didn’t want to go on camera said after shots were fired the suspect hid behind a car with a flashlight, pointing his gun at other neighbors.
“Just ‘cause the man has a badge doesn’t give him the right to take a life of another,” a neighbor said.
Hopper knocked on the door of a home where neighbors say the suspect lives with his wife, but got no answer. Neighbors said they had seen the wife leaving the home with belongings.
The Sheriff Department won’t comment further than saying the agent has been arrested for homicide. Border Patrol will only say the agent is on administrative leave pending the investigation.
“A U.S. Border Patrol Agent assigned to the San Diego Sector Newton-Azrak Station in Murrieta was involved in an off-duty shooting incident that resulted in the death of an individual,” U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials stated in a press release. “The San Diego Sector has suspended the agent’s law enforcement authority and placed the agent on administrative leave pending developments in the investigation.”
Demery was booked at the Southwest Detention Center, Stoyer said.
The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department asks that anyone with information regarding the investigation contacts Investigator Moody of the Central Homicide Unit at (760) 393-3525 or Investigator Porrazzo from the Hemet Station at (951) 791-3425.
Anonymous tips may also be submitted using the Sheriff’s Homicide Tipline online form.
Meanwhile, the victim’s family, who have only lived in the neighborhood for a week, have set up a GoFundMe account to help pay for funeral expenses. The link is http://www.gofundme.com/gz5hj8