Deputies were called to a shopping center on Valencia Boulevard in Santa Clarita, California. The call reported a trespassing incident involving a man sleeping in front of a business and refusing to leave the premises. The individual was later identified as 50-year-old Christopher Lee Mercurio.
Upon arrival at the scene, a female deputy approached Mercurio, requesting him to vacate the area. However, Mercurio refused to comply and proceeded to threaten the deputy’s life. He then advanced toward her, striking her in the face and head. In response, the deputy employed self-defense techniques, attempting to create distance between herself and Mercurio.
Despite her efforts, Mercurio continued his aggressive advance, leading to a deputy-involved shooting. Mercurio was hit by the gunfire and fell to the ground.
Additional deputies arrived on the scene, promptly administering medical assistance to Mercurio. Paramedics also responded, transporting him to a nearby hospital. After arriving, he was later pronounced dead.
The assaulted deputy, identified as Deputy Lorena Gonzalez, was also taken to a local hospital for treatment of her injuries, and was subsequently released. No other individuals were injured during the incident.
The incident met the criteria outlined in Assembly Bill 1506, prompting the involvement of the California Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General. After being briefed by LASD homicide investigators, the Department of Justice assumed control of the crime scene and subsequent investigation.