Deputies Open Fire on North County Man Wielding Machete

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Sheriff’s vehicles at the scene of the deputy-involved shooting in Valley Center. Courtesy OnScene.TV

Deputies confronted by a machete-wielding, rock- hurling man in a rural North County neighborhood Wednesday opened fire on him with a pistol, sicced a service dog on him and shot him with a stun gun and a beanbag-firing shotgun before managing to get him into custody.

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The patrol personnel were responding to a reported disturbance at a home in the 29000 block of Lilac Road in Valley Center when they came across the armed and aggressive resident shortly after 11:30 a.m., according to sheriff’s officials.

The suspect, later identified as 23-year-old Miguel Zuniga, allegedly refused to drop his weapons, shouted at the deputies in Spanish and threw stones at them, Lt. Kenneth Nelson told reporters.

When Zuniga began advancing on them, one of the personnel opened fire with his service handgun, missing him, and another blasted him with the beanbag gun, Nelson said. When those actions failed to stop Zuniga, the personnel let loose the police dog and zapped him with a stun gun, the lieutenant said.

The deputies were then able to tackle the suspect and take him into custody. Medics transported him to Palomar Medical Center in Escondido for treatment of injuries he suffered during the encounter.

Zuniga lives on the property where the confrontation took place, the lieutenant told news crews.

The deputy-involved shooting was the third to occur in the San Diego area over the last two weeks.

On May 10, two members of the sheriff’s department fatally shot a Santa Barbara man when he allegedly drove a pickup truck toward them during a pursuit over back-country roads near Barona Casino.

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Five days later, a deputy opened fire on an assault suspect, killing him, when the man allegedly charged him with a knife in his hand underneath a bridge near the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

Last Saturday, a man who reportedly had been jumping over residential fences and trying to get into homes in Lemon Grove passed out and died after deputies repeatedly shocked him with stun guns. A ruling on his cause of death was on hold pending completion of postmortem exams, including toxicology screenings.
–City News Service

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