MODESTO, California (KOVR) — Two teen girls spoke out after a car chase throughout Modesto resulted in their friend, who was behind the wheel, being shot by a deputy, leaving him on life support.
They’re now questioning why that Stanislaus County sheriff’s deputy opened fire, when they say no one in that car had a weapon.
“I’m just hoping he’s strong enough to make it,” said Rhiannan Taylor.
Taylor and her friend Loreli Vann are worried about their friend.
The teen, 17, took them and sheriff’s deputies on a 7-mile car chase through downtown Modesto.
“They tried to pull us over and the cop came over to the window,” said Loreli.
Just after 2 a.m. on Tuesday, deputies tried to pull over their car at North Carpenter and Torrid for a traffic stop. The two girls say their friend had just gotten out of a year in juvenile hall. He got scared and took off.
“He was just finally having freedom and he didn’t want to get in trouble,” said Taylor.
The Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office said deputies tried stopping the car with a pit maneuver near the airport.
It’s there where the shots were fired.
“The car was still rolling and he wasn’t driving and the cop shot him,” said Taylor.
The sheriff’s office says the 17-year-old tried using the car as a weapon, driving toward deputies. That’s something Taylor and Vann say isn’t true.
It’s still under investigation whether these teens had a weapon, but we’re told no one in the car was armed with a gun. They don’t know why that deputy opened fire.
“There was no reason, we all had our hands in the air,” said Vann.
The Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office says what led to the shooting is still under investigation.
Sgt. Luke Schwartz says the deputy did not at first know there were teens in the car.
CBS13 asked how would this be handled differently if the sheriff’s office knew there were teens in the car.
“It’s almost impossible for us to do a hypothetical what we may have done differently, but we seek out cooperation each and every time we make contact,” said Sgt. Schwartz.
It took the sheriff’s office almost 15 hours to release details that there were five teens in the car. The sheriff’s office points to the “moving parts” in this investigation for the delay.
“We want to make sure the facts we do put out are as accurate as they absolutely need to be,” said Schwartz.
The sheriff’s office says it will release the body camera footage of the incident within 45 days, and say they’re focused on transparency.
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