After a minor New Year’s Eve traffic collision, a man was caught on surveillance video fatally punching an off duty San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputy after they spoke.
Deputy Larry Falce, 70, is seen in the video standing on the sidewalk near the intersection of Kendall Drive and University Parkway in San Bernardino after he was involved in what was described by family members as a minor fender bender about 11 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 31. He was in his personal vehicle at the time of the crash, reported KTLA.
The suspect was later identified as 30-year-old Alonzo Leron Smith.
The video, from a nearby business, shows the drivers exchange words, then Smith walks back toward his car while the two men apparently continue to talk. Then, less than a minute after Falce and Smith first walked toward each other, Smith walked back and punched the deputy in the head.
Falce immediately falls to the ground, and never regained consciousness.
Smith went back to his vehicle and begins to pull into the street and drive away when a witness tries to stop him, ramming the man’s car with his SUV, turning him sideways.
“I was just so, so shocked. My instincts just kind of kicked in,” the witness, who did not want to be identified, told KTLA.
He said he first got out of his truck and approached the suspect, but went back into his pickup when the suspect tried to flee the scene.
“He jumped in his car and tried to leave, so I rammed him once and then I backed up and he was able to go around my actual truck, so I rammed him a second time in the back of his car and spun him out across the street and into a … tree,” the witness said.
The witness then went to and stayed with the unconscious off-duty deputy until paramedics arrived.
Ultimately, Smith was found and taken into custody about 12 hours later, after another witness was able to provide the vehicle’s license plate.
He was arrested on suspicion of murder, with his bail set at $1 million.
Falce was taken to Loma Linda University Hospital, where he remained on life support until he died Tuesday evening.