A California police officer was fatally shot twice at point-blank range on the morning of Nov. 13 by a criminal who was apprehended four hours after a manhunt was launched to find him. The wanted man was caught after carjacking a motorist, robbing a liquor store and trying to steal a purse from a woman on the street, law enforcement officials said.
Stanislaus County Sheriff Deputy Dennis Wallace, a veteran who had worked with the police for 20 years, was shot twice in the head soon after finding a stolen van in Fox Grove Park near the city of Hughson, Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson said in a press conference, the Los Angeles Times reports.
"We know for a fact that the gun used in this crime was in direct contact with his head when the trigger was pulled -- twice," Christianson said, as reported by KCRA via the Los Angeles Times. "This was an execution."
Identified suspect David Machado, 37, was caught by police 150 miles south of where Wallace died, Christianson said Nov. 13.
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The sheriff stated Wallace came across a suspicious-looking van parked in Hughson, in California's Central Valley, on the morning of Nov. 13. When Wallace found out from a dispatcher that the van was stolen, the deputy called for assistance, NBC News reports.
Shortly thereafter, Wallace was shot twice in the head, execution-style, Christianson explained, adding that detectives believe Wallace was killed just outside his patrol car.
Machado, who was wanted by police on a felony warrant, fled the scene and carjacked a white 2009 Kia eight miles southwest of Fox Grove, in Keyes, Christianson said. The van was abandoned nearby.
While fleeing, Machado traveled some 150 miles before robbing a convenience store in Lindsay, Christianson said during a second press conference.
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Around noon, Machado attempted to steal a purse from a woman on the street, who resisted and called police, said Christianson.
Responding to her call, police chased the suspect, who was on foot, and brought him into custody, the sheriff said.
"He surrendered to those peace officers who were chasing him," Christianson said.
Police were able to identify Machado through his tattoos and a photograph released to all law enforcement.
Officials have recovered the stolen van Machado used to flee from the murder scene, along with the Kia vehicle he had carjacked.
"There’s still much work to be done," Christianson said. "We will be bringing Mr. Machado back here to Stanislaus County to stand trial and we will seek justice, and justice will be done in this case."