A suspected cop killer is in custody after he allegedly shot a California deputy twice in the head, authorities said.
Authorities believe 36-year-old David Machado fatally shot Stanislaus County Deputy Dennis Wallace, 53, after he responded to a call about a suspicious van and person in Hughson, Calif., early Sunday, according to the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department.
“This was an execution,” Sheriff Adam Christianson told reporters at a brief press conference. “We believe that Dep. Wallace was killed outside of the car, and we know for a fact that the gun used in this crime was in direct contact with his head when the trigger was pulled twice.”
Wallace, a 20-year veteran of the force, entered the Fox Grove Recreation and Fishing Access at 8:24 a.m. following a dispatcher’s call about a stolen vehicle in the area, Christianson said.
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He immediately radioed for another deputy for assistance, police said.
Five minutes later, the assisting deputy arrived at the scene and found Wallace gunned down.
Wallace was transported to a nearby hospital where he died from his injuries, police said.
The beloved deputy was involved in youth soccer, refereeing football and served as a liaison between schools and law enforcement, according to the community.
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“He wasn’t just assigned to Hughson; he’s a fixture in Hughson. He was so well-loved,” Stanislaus County Supervisor Vito Chiesa told the Modesto Bee.
Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Deputy Dennis Wallace was responding to a report of a suspicious van and person when he was fatally shot Sunday.
(Joan Barnett Lee/AP)
The suspect had fled the scene after the shooting, prompting law enforcement to conduct a manhunt with a felony warrant for Machado’s arrest, the Modesto Bee reported.
About 20 minutes later, police got another call of a carjacking in the Keyes community where they found an abandoned van nearby, police said
The victim identified Machado, who has a shaved head and sports a mustache that reaches below his chin, as the suspected carjacker of a white 2009 Kia Rio vehicle with a California plate, police said.
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Moments later, police got another call of an armed robbery, where Machado allegedly tried to steal a purse from a woman who repeatedly fought back, Christianson said.
After the attempted robbery, police caught up to Machado and he was taken into custody at Tulare County jail, he said.
Police confirmed that they have both vehicles — the van Machado allegedly used to escape from Fox Grove and the other stolen car from Keyes — for evidence purposes.
“We still have a long way to go and more work needs to be done,” Christianson said.
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“He (Machado) will stand trial and we will seek justice,” he said. “We need to keep the Wallace family in our thoughts.”
The shooting of Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Deputy Dennis Wallace prompted police to search for David Machado
Christianson called for the community and law enforcement to to stand united while the investigation is ongoing.
“It’s time to stand united with public safety,” the sheriff said. “And to stand together in our nation.”
With News Wire Services
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