State Police: man killed by Bedford Co. deputy had just come here from California

From Virginia State Police: The investigation remains ongoing into the officer-involved shooting in Bedford County July 30, 2014. At the request of the Bedford County Sheriff, the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s “Police Shooting Investigative Team” out of the Salem Field Office is investigating the fatal shooting of a man by a Bedford County deputy sheriff. The series of incidents that led up to the shooting began at approximately 8:03 p.m. Tuesday, July 29, 2014, in Bedford County when a man forced his way into a residence in the 1500 block of Stewartsville Road, which is Route 24, in Bedford County. The homeowner says the male intruder threatened her with a gun. When the man, David A. Mendoza, 32, was unable to steal a vehicle from that residence, he fled the scene on a dirt bike heading west on Route 24/Stewartsville Road.

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At approximately 8:50 p.m., a Bedford County deputy spotted Mendoza riding the dirt bike near the intersection of Stewartsville and Harveys Creek roads. As deputies approached, Mendoza sped away and rode off through a series of fields. Deputies were unable to pursue the suspect in their vehicles through the field.

After Mendoza eluded the deputies, further investigation reveals he broke into a boat prop repair shop along Route 24/Stewartsville Road. There he stole apparel to change his appearance and a pickup truck. The store was closed at the time of the break-in.

At approximately 12:08 a.m., July 30, 2014, a Bedford County deputy, who was still searching for Mendoza, observed the pickup driving recklessly in the eastbound lane of Stewartsville Road/Route 24. When the deputy attempted to stop the pickup truck, it fled from the deputy and turned onto Route 122 and then onto Oakwood Knolls Drive.

When the pickup truck came to the dead end on Oakwood Knolls Drive, it made an abrupt turn and struck the deputy’s patrol car. Mendoza then exited the stolen pickup truck and started towards the deputy. Mendoza was subsequently shot. He was transported to Bedford Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Anyone with information concerning Mendoza, who had just relocated to Bedford County from California two weeks before the shooting, is asked to please contact the Virginia State Police. State police are also encouraging anyone who may have witnessed the home invasion, store break-in, or the pursuits, to also please call (540) 375-9547 or email bci-salem@vsp.virginia.gov with information.

Once the investigation into the shooting is completed, state police will turn its findings over to the Commonwealth’s Attorney for final review and adjudication.

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