Fire on suspect accused of stealing van

VALLEY CENTER — Sheriff’s officials have released the names of two veteran deputies who opened fire on a defendant who allegedly stole a minivan, fled from law enforcement, attempted to run down many deputies and then crashed into two sheriff’s patrol vehicles on the weekend in Valley Center.

The San Diego County Sheriff’s deputies involved in the shooting — which did not injure the defendant but wounded a puppy in his automobile — were Aaron Boer, a 10-year veteran of the section, and 16-year department veteran Gordon McCarthy, said sheriff’s homicide Sgt. Steve Bodine.

The defendant, 22-year-old Kevin Ernesto Meza, was arrested following the chase and crash, authorities said.

North County’s resident has been held on suspicion of eight felony charges including three counts of assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer instead of $ 370,000 bond in the Vista Detention Center.

The incident started about 3 a.m. Nov. 26 when deputies in the Valley Center substation received a radio call to be on the lookout for a stolen Honda Odyssey van, according to Sheriff’s Lt. Rich Williams. The van was seen near Valley View Casino, and with the help of San Pasqual Tribal Police, deputies attempted to prevent it.

Meza reportedly stopped for a couple seconds, then drove off in a high speed, narrowly missing a patrol vehicle, Williams stated. Deputies chased where the motorist stopped temporarily, the van northbound on North Lake Wohlford Road on Thundernut Lane.

Meza attempted to drive into one of those deputies, inducing flame to start after deputies approached the van on foot, Williams stated. The driver again sped off into the end of Thundernut Lane where he sped toward the deputies, who again opened fire and made a U-turn.

Bodine did not define how many shots have been terminated or should both Boer and McCarthy opened fire on the two occasions.

Two patrol cars struck and became handicapped after being taken in the second time, Williams stated.

Gunfire not struck Meza, but had been taken to a hospital because of injuries sustained in the crash.

Deputies found a puppy Williams stated. The dog, believed to belong to Meza, was accepted to a veterinary hospital for treatment and later released.

1 sheriff’s deputy released from a hospital and was treated for whiplash, Williams stated. The analysis was taken over by the sheriff’s homicide detail as is habitual in shootings.

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