August 18, 2008

Off-duty H.B. officer involved in Dairy Queen shooting

Transient in Ludlow shot in confrontation with several off-duty officers, according to reports

The Orange County Register

HUNTINGTON BEACH – An off-duty Huntington Beach police officer was involved in a shooting in a Dairy Queen in the High Desert city of Ludlow on Sunday night.

Lt. Mitchell O'Brien of the Huntington Beach police confirmed that one of the department's officers was involved, but said the department is not releasing the officer's name pending investigation of the incident.

Daniel Pettit, 21, a transient, was arrested, airlifted to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center to be treated for his gunshot wounds, and booked into West Valley Detention Center at 7:46 p.m. on suspicion of robbery, according to the Desert Dispatch newspaper.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department is investigating the shooting. A spokewoman for the department did not immediately return a phone call Monday.

Several off-duty police officers from different Southern California agencies were in the Dairy Queen at 25635 Crucero Road in Ludlow, which is 36 miles east of Barstow, when a man went behind the counter of the store and threatened employees, store manager Lorraine Flowers said.

"He was pacing back and forth, back and forth," said Flowers, who was not in the store at the time, but reviewed a tape of the incident and talked to employees who were working.

"He was acting a little bit bizarre and came behind the counter," Flowers said. "He didn't demand money or anything like that."

One employee jumped over the counter in fear, and another asked the man what he was doing.

The man grabbed a couple of screwdrivers from a shelf and told the employee, " 'If you come near me, I'm going to stab you,' " Flowers said.

Employees evacuated the store, and the officers confronted the man, ordering him to drop the screwdriver, the Daily Dispatch reported. When the man advanced on the officers brandishing a pair of scissors he had used to cut the wires for the Dairy Queen's computer system, one or more of the officers fired, according to the report.

Flowers said there were four officers involved; the Daily Dispatch said there were five.

Pettit was shot twice, Flowers said.