Inyo County authorities are looking for two Hispanic suspects they say robbed and attempted to murder a stranded motorist last Thursday.
The incident occurred on southbound Route 127, roughly four miles north of Shoshone, California, just after 3 a.m. on Aug. 20.
A $5,000 reward is being offered for information resulting in the arrest, conviction and return of the victim’s property.
The victim, a former law enforcement officer who served in the military, chose to remain anonymous but recounted the incident.
He said he was driving back to his southern California home from Esmeralda County when a tire on his vehicle went flat.
Shortly thereafter, the victim said two Hispanic gentleman pulled up and asked if he needed any help.
“I told him I was fine but the passenger got out of the car and asked me again,” he said. “I told him I was positive and I thanked him. Then he asked me if I had any beer in the ice chest and I told him no but then he then said he would look for himself and I told him F**k you and that’s when he pulled out a .45-caliber handgun.”
The victim said he was about eight feet from the man holding the gun, when he tried to find a way to get out of the situation.
“Without exposing my back or anything else I went after him as his partner was coming around the other side,” he said. “He fired off one round and it went through my shirt hit and my ice chest. As he stumbled back he took a second shot which hit the top of my truck.”
The victim then sprinted into the desert as the gunman continued to fire off more rounds.
He estimates his property loss exceeds $20,000.
“They spent about 10 or 15 minutes rummaging through my truck, taking a backpack, some cash, a couple of black powder antique firearms, camera equipment and some other items I had.”
The victim was able to get a partial license plate number of the vehicle described as a black late model Toyota pickup truck.
He noted that plates appeared to be from the country of Mexico.
The partial number ends in “083.”
“I don’t know which province or state it is because there are like 31 or 32 states in the country of Mexico,” he said. “It had a Mexican license plate bracket on it with a rainbow color similar to salmon and teal but it was actually a license plate from Mexico.”
The victim also said he normally carries a sidearm with him as he described himself as a “huge Second Amendment fan.”
His visit to Esmeralda County included a stop by a consignment business where he sold his sidearm to a dealer.
“The shopkeeper liked my carry weapon so I told him if he was willing to give me the $2,500 dollars for it, he could have it because I have others. That’s the only reason I didn’t have my sidearm with me.”
The victim, in hindsight, said he was angrier at himself than anything else as a result of what happened.
“I’m fine but I’m angry and embarrassed,” he said. “I’ve had a concealed weapons permit forever but it was one of the very, very few times that I didn’t have my sidearm with me. The biggest thing at that point was just to get out of Dodge and come back in when I could. This was the first time I didn’t have my sidearm on me in about 10 years.”
The victim said he has traveled the same rural route for many years noting its relative convenience in terms of saving time and fuel.
He said he’s never experienced anything remotely similar.
“I own property up in the Esmeralda County area and I was coming back down to my home in Corona, California because it’s the easiest way,” he said. “If I go down the 95 Highway to Vegas and back over, it adds almost 200 miles to the trip so it cuts off a huge amount of time. I’ve been doing this for 30 years.”
Additionally, the victim said he was made aware of a similar early morning occurrence to another motorist last year along State Route 178 between Shoshone and Pahrump
“It was exactly a year ago on State Route 178 coming out of Shoshone to Pahrump,” he said. “There was a gentleman who was fixing his tire early in the morning and he was assaulted by two Hispanic males who were also driving a black pickup truck. They hit him with a tire iron and left him there. He was found about a day and a half later, alive. The police are still looking into that.”
Anyone with information is urged to call the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office at 760-876-5606.
Anonymous tips can be made to a private hotline at 518-738-3733.