‘We’re talking a quarter-inch from tragedy’: Calif. deputy survives after being shot in the head

The deputy was in pursuit of a suspect when the man opened fire, discharging a round that entered and exited the deputy’s skull

By Ashley Silver

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — A California deputy is recovering after being shot in the head by a suspect who was attempting to break into cars last week.

According to KGET News, Kern County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Michael Valdez, who just finished field training five weeks ago, received a call about a suspect allegedly trying to open car doors at a mobile home park. The suspect was later identified as 19-year-old Edgar Rojas.

“Deputy Valdez saw the suspect, engaged him,” Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood told KGET. “The suspect turned and ran.”

Valdez and his partner, deputy Danielle Henderson, pursued Rojas, losing sight of him at one point. They eventually located the man in an alley and that’s when Rojas opened fire, hitting Valdez with a gunshot to the forehead.

Rojas fired multiple rounds before Valdez could return to his cruiser to get a shotgun. The exchange of fire did not last long, according to Youngblood.

“This round actually went in here and circled the head and exited the rear. And the round was actually recovered from the hat he was wearing,” Youngblood told the news platform. “We’re talking a quarter-inch from tragedy.”

Police swarmed the scene following the shooting and demanded the suspect come out of a residence. Rojas eventually followed commands, exited the home and turned himself in.

Valdez was taken to a hospital, treated with stitches and later released.

“It’s a dangerous job we do. When you get shot, you don’t know how bad it is,” Youngblood said. “He stayed in the fight, continued to protect the community until the perimeter was established, and once help got there, he relieved himself of duty and they took over.”

Rojas was charged with attempted murder and assault with a firearm on a peace officer.

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