San Bernadino County, CA - The suspect who shot San Bernardino Deputy Patrick Higgins in the chest Thursday morning is now in custody.
According to KTLA, the incident occurred about 1:00 AM at the Chevron station located at the intersection of Ranchero Road and Escondido Avenue. Deputies responded to a report of a strong armed robbery.
Upon arrival, store employees told the Deputies that the suspect, Kenneth Welch, had come into the store, stole some vapes, and fled. San Bernardino Deputies checked the surrounding area and located Welch. When Deputy Higgins approached Welch, suspect appeared to ignore him him, according to NBC Los Angeles.
Deputy Higgins attempted to use pepper spray on Welch who pulled out a firearm 'within seconds' and shot the deputy in the chest. Welch got into his car while still shooting at the San Bernardino Deputies, who fired back.
Kenneth Welch fled the scene but was located hours later near his home in Redlands. He had a Glock 9mm pistol in his possession when he was arrested. His vehicle's rear windshield was shattered by bullets from Deputy Higgins's gun, and an AR-15 style rifle was found in a bag inside the vehicle.
Deputy Higgins was transported to a local hospital 'with significant trauma to his chest' but has since been treated and released. He is home recovering and his ballistic vest is being credited with saving his life.
In a press release on Friday, the San Bernardino Sheriff's Office said that Welch is the suspect in the random homicide of, Mario Figueroa, age 48. Figueroa died after being found lying in the middle of the street with a gunshot wound. He did nothing to provoke the shooting. Welch followed him off the freeway, and shot him in the head as he got out of his vehicle. Welch is also the suspect in two other random shootings in which the victims survived.
Kenneth Welch is now being held under $25 million bond.
Great job by these heroes in getting a wannabe serial killer off of the streets.