On Sunday, Sept. 29, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department deputies were involved in a pursuit in Apple Valley in which the driver of a semi-truck attempted to ram and shoot several deputies, including those in a helicopter. The suspect Anthony Watkins, 36, of Lucerne Valley died of his wounds.
According to a sheriff’s department press release, at approximately 9:39 p.m. on Sunday deputies from the Victor Valley Station responded to the report of a suspicious person/vehicle (semi-truck) at a residence. The reporting party stated he was following the suspect, later identified as Anthony Watkins, and gave dispatch a description of the semi-truck and location.
Deputies located the vehicle and attempted a traffic stop, Watkins failed to yield, and a pursuit began. Sheriff’s Aviation responded and was assisting with the pursuit. Deputies attempted to use spike strips at Highway 18 and Pioneer to stop the pursuit. Watkins veered toward a deputy at the location and continued onto Hwy 247. Deputies attempted again to use spike strips at Highway 247 and Lynn, and Watkins fired a weapon at the deputies at that location. Sheriff’s Aviation remained over the pursuit and witnessed Watkins shooting at deputies.
The pursuit then continued on Highway 62, Watkins continued to refuse to stop and peacefully surrender. A deputy-involved shooting occurred involving the Sheriff’s Aviation helicopter.
The suspect made a U-turn on Highway 62 in the area of Pinon Drive and Camino Del Cielo and was then traveling east in the westbound lanes directly in front of and toward deputies. To avoid a collision, deputies crossed over the median onto the eastbound lanes. Watkins then entered the eastbound lanes ramming a marked patrol unit, dragging the unit along the side of the semi-truck.
Watkins was shooting at the deputy, and the deputy returned fire. The semi-truck left the roadway on the south side of Highway 62 west of Camino Del Cielo Trail coming to rest on the dirt berm.
A deputy-involved shooting occurred striking Watkins. Anthony Watkins was pronounced deceased at the scene. He was later transported to the Riverside County Coroner’s Office.
Homicide investigators responded to the location to conduct the investigation.
One deputy received minor injuries, not from gunfire, he did not require medical attention.
Investigators searched the inside of the semi-truck and located a handgun.
The semi-truck was not found to be stolen; however, investigators are continuing to investigate whether or not it was stolen and had not yet been reported.
Highway 62 was closed in both directions for several hours during the on-scene investigation.
The investigation is ongoing, anyone with information regarding this incident is urged to contact Detective T. Phillips at (909) 387-3589. Callers wishing to remain anonymous are urged to contact the We-Tip Hotline at (800) 78-CRIME or wetip.com.