Sheriff’s Sergeant Dominic Vaca Slain In Arrest Of Motorcyclist In Yucca Valley

In what otherwise might have been a relatively routine traffic incident, 17-year law enforcement veteran Dominic Vaca, a sergeant with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, was gunned down on Memorial Day.
On Monday, May 31, 2021, at 12:33 p.m., sheriff’s personnel assigned to the Morongo Basin Station were conducting extra patrol enforcement for off-highway vehicles. Deputies observed a male subject, subsequently identified as Bilal Winston Shabazz, of Lancaster in Los Angeles County, near Paxton Road and Imperial Drive in Yucca Valley riding on a street-legal motorcycle with no license plates. When the deputies sought to stop Shabazz, the motorcyclist failed to yield, and a pursuit ensued. During the pursuit, Shabazz abandoned the motorcycle and fled on foot through several nearby residential properties. Deputies pursued Shabazz on foot. When Sergeant Vaca attempted to detain Shabazz, Shabazz shot at Vaca, who was struck by the gunfire.
After he shot Sergeant Vaca, Shabazz continued to flee and engaged in a running shootout with other responding deputies. Shabazz was struck when those deputies returned fire.
Sheriff’s personnel at the scene in Yucca Valley conducted life-saving efforts until the arrival of a helicopter, upon which Vaca was airlifted to Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs. Despite the ministrations of medical personnel there, Vaca succumbed to his injuries.
Shabazz was pronounced dead at the Yucca Valley location where he was felled by responding gunfire. A loaded handgun was located next to Shabazz. Two additional magazines containing ammunition were found on his person, according to the sheriff’s department.
Detectives from the sheriff’s department’s Specialized Investigations Division, which includes the department’s homicide detail, responded to conduct the investigation into the incident. They ascertained that Shabazz had a no-bail warrant out of Los Angeles County.
Vaca leaves behind a wife, an eleven-year-old daughter and a four-month-old daughter.
“Our prayers are with him and his family as we all mourn in this difficult time,” said San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon.
Governor Gavin Newsom said he was “deeply saddened to learn of the tragic loss of Sergeant Vaca in the line of duty. Our thoughts are with his family and friends, and with his colleagues at the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department who risk their lives daily to serve the community.”
Vaca, 43, who was most recently working out of the Morongo Basin Sheriff’s Station, was remembered by his colleagues as “dedicated” and “a very real person,” one who “cared deeply for the community and the citizens he served.” “Dom went the extra mile,” one said. “I’m too torn up about this to talk about it.”
In honor of Sergeant Vaca, Capitol flags were being be flown at half-staff this week. In San Bernardino County, flags will remain at half-staff until sunset on the day of Vaca’s interment, the date for which had not been set at press time.
A memorial fund has been established to assist Vaca’s wife and children:

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