Video footage of a confrontation between a paroled gang member and a 70-year-old off-duty sheriff’s deputy is angering many. What began as a minor traffic accident ended when the parolee punched the deputy in the face. The deputy fell backwards on the concrete and has since died from his injuries.
“Lawrence Falce died in hospital in San Bernardino two days after being hit by a man named by police as 30-year-old Alonzo Leron Smith at around 11am on New Year’s Eve,” The Daily Mail writes.
Falce, an Army veteran, served as a police officer for 36 years. Falce was driving ahead of Smith on New Year’s eve. He reportedly hit the brakes to avoid hitting two dogs that ran into the road. Smith, following behind, ran into the back of Falce’s truck.
The two men then stopped, exchanged words, and Smith punched him in the face.
After Falce fell, Smith fled the scene. A witness tried to prevent him from leaving and rammed Smith’s car, but Smith managed to get away.
Video of the encounter and reports from the witnesses helped identify Smith. He was arrested later that day and charged with Assault. Those charges have been upgraded to murder.
At his initial court appearance, Wednesday, Smith pleaded not guilty.
San Bernardino County District Attorney Mike Ramos has made the prosecution of Smith a top priority. “I will indicate to you that this defendant in this matter, we consider a career criminal. An admitted gang member,” he told reporters.
“He went to state prison for selling marijuana and admitted he was a gang member. With murder you can do 25 to life and this person needs to spend the rest of his life in prison.”
“We need to get this criminal off the street.”
Ramos then spoke frankly about gang members avoiding significant jail time in California. “It’s bullshit. I am sick, as the DA, having to deal with these people, especially when they take the life of one of our community members.
“We’re going to fight like hell. I’m going to guarantee you that we’re going to hold this person responsible,” he concluded.