An SRPD police officer who had been on the force less than a six months after transferring from LA, died of a gunshot wound to the head on Wednesday after being called out to attend an incident with other officers, police said.
Torrance Smith, 29, was pronounced dead at the scene, after a suspect opened fire on him and his fellow Officers as they attempted to administer emergency aid to a gun shot victim, Lieutenant Azariah Brentt said during a very brief news conference on Thursday.
Three officers were on a call out, after a caller had phoned 911, to report a active shooter and stating she had heard screaming in sewers under the Retro Drive area of the city.
“We found a manhole cover lifted and managed to gain entry via a service ladder. After locating the victim with another female, we started emergency aid while we awaited the EMT's getting down to her.” Lieutenant Azariah Brentt said. The witness was able to inform the Officers that there was woman with a gun in the adjoining room. They went in to secure her and she opened fire.
“The suspect who we believe was female came out came out from behind a pillar in the semi-dark and immediately began firing at us.” The Lieutenant said. “Four shots were fired at the doorway, where Officers Smith and Jones were attending the victim. Two of which struck Officer Smith. One on his shoulder and the second a fatal shot to his head. ”
Police warned EMT's to stay back and not approach while they attempted to secure the scene.
“The suspect fled firing another round of shots off indiscriminately behind her as she ran. Prompting one officer to fire his weapon. Despite our best efforts the suspect was able to flee into the mass of tunnels that make up the sewers. Exiting somewhere else along the system we believe. Units arrived on scene at the surface shortly after but were able to detain her. We found another(third) female chained to the wall. She had been mutilated and was unconscious.”
"We were then able to allow the EMT's in and the two victims. After some negotiation and assistance from the Fire Department who set a winch system, the victims where taken to Santa Ramona General Hospital.” Lieutenant Azariah Brentt told us. “Officer Smith was pronounced dead at the scene by the EMTs.”
In keeping with the protocol for police-involved shootings Internal Affairs department of Santa Ramona Courts has launched an investigation.
Officer Smith grew up in Santa Ramona, before moving to Los Angeles in his early teens. He transferred to SRPD just over six mouths ago after marrying a local woman.
"We are devastated," Lieutenant Azariah Brentt said at a news conference. "There are no words to convey the depth of sadness we feel or how heartbroken we are for the family of this, brave officer. We ask that you please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers at this time."
No further information will be released by the Santa Ramona Police Department at this time.