PALM SPRINGS, Calif. – Police say they had no choice but to shoot and kill a Camp Pendleton Marine after he refused to pull over, drove into one officer, and tried to drive off with another officer hanging halfway out of his car window.
The Marine repeatedly ignored orders to stop after being approached by officers on bike patrol around 2 a.m. Saturday, the Palm Springs Police Department said in a statement Monday.
One of the officers partially climbed into the passenger window to stop the car, but the Marine accelerated, striking the other officer, the department said. The Marine kept driving with the officer hanging out of the window until the car crashed near the garage exit, it said.
Both officers were treated for injuries at a hospital and released. They have been placed on administrative leave while the department investigates.
The Marine died at the scene and the lone passenger, another Marine, was not injured, authorities said.
"In the course of these events, fearing for their safety and the safety of others both officers discharged their weapons," the statement said.
The Desert Sun identified the Marine who was shot as Cpl. Allan DeVillena II and said his family contacted the newspaper.
Police said authorities later found a smartphone in the car that was reported stolen by someone whose identification card was found in the Marine's pants pocket.
The lone passenger was arrested for investigation of public intoxication and for an unrelated misdemeanor warrant then released. Police did not release his name.
DeVillena's father, Alan DeVillena, told the newspaper his son and the passenger had gone out to celebrate the 237th birthday of the Marine Corps, which was Saturday.
The father said the family was headed to Palm Springs to find out what had happened after being notified of his son's death by the Marine Corps.
The newspaper reported both Marines were with the 1st Marine Logistics Group based in Camp Pendleton, but the men were stationed at Twentynine Palms.
Marine Corps officials could not be immediately reached for comment Monday when many offices were closed for Veterans Day.
DeVillena said his son served in Afghanistan and was due to finish his four-year enlistment in about two months. He said he planned to attend college.
"He was looking to get into audio engineering," DeVillena told the newspaper. "He wanted to get into recording. He wrote a lot. He had a passion for music."