RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. - "He was right over him, shot him point-blank" says a visibly shaken Sycamore Court resident, describing the shooting of a Rancho Cucamonga deputy who had responded to a suspicious vehicle parked outside the home of Juan Cardenas.
"He’d been there for hours, with the lights blinking" says Cardenas, who saw the suspect get in and out of the car, use a cell phone and what looked like a laptop in the vehicle. Wondering why AAA hadn’t responded, since the Toyota was parked in a no-parking area, he figured he’d call deputies to check if everything was ok. He says he saw a deputy park behind the vehicle, approach the driver, talk to him and return to his vehicle. A couple of minutes later, as the deputy returned to the Toyota, Cardenas says the suspect "lunged at the officer", knocking him to the ground, shooting him several times while standing over him.
Not believing what he was seeing, he immediately called 911 to report the officer down. Investigators say the deputy managed to get a description of the suspect out over the radio, as he lay on the ground. The huge response from law enforcement was immediate. The injured officer was put on an Ontario Police Department helicopter and flown to Pomona Valley Hospital, where he is listed in stable condition.
The suspect, who fled on foot, was captured by officers down the street. He’s been identified as 35-year-old Nicholas Campbell, from Northern California. San Bernardino County Sheriff Shannon Dicus confirmed that the suspect has a long rap sheet and is on probation for a carjacking in Northern California.
Fresno police say a Nicholas Campbell was arrested in September 2017, when witnesses reported the then 32-year-old and a woman allegedly broke into the sunroof of a car they had locked themselves out of. The responding officers found that the car had been stolen in Northern California in a possible carjacking, and booked Campbell on suspicion of possession of stolen property and illegal possession of a firearm. San Bernardino County Deputies will neither confirm nor deny if this is the carjacking probation they are referring to, but say he does have an "extensive criminal history."
Record checks show that Campbell had felony arrests even before then, including burglary, residential breaking and entering, fencing stolen property, auto theft and more.
The injured deputy, who has not yet been identified, is listed in stable condition and is expected to make it.