Officers involved in Valley Center shooting identified, suspect pleads not guilty to charges

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — Authorities Tuesday released the name of a deputy who opened fire on a suspect, missing him, as the man allegedly hurled rocks and waved a machete at sheriff’s personnel investigating a disturbance in a rural North County neighborhood.

Daniel Elwess, who has been with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department for four years, fired his service pistol toward 23-year-old Miguel Angel Zuniga last week during a confrontation on a back-country Valley Center property where the suspect lives.

Elwess and his fellow deputies ultimately were able to get Zuniga into custody after shocking him with an electric stun gun, blasting him with a beanbag-firing shotgun and siccing a service dog on him.

The patrol personnel were responding to a reported disturbance in the 29500 block of Lilac Road when Zuniga confronted them shortly after 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, clutching the bladed weapon and a handful of stones, Lt. Kenneth Nelson said.

Zuniga allegedly refused to drop his weapons, shouted at the deputies in Spanish and began throwing the rocks at them.

When Zuniga began advancing on them, Elwess opened fire, and the other deputies deployed the non-lethal compliance devices.

The suspect has pleaded not guilty to a slate of charges, including assault, resisting arrest and mistreating a police dog.

The deputy-involved shooting was the third to occur in the San Diego area over a period of two weeks.

On May 10, two members of the sheriff’s department fatally shot a Santa Barbara man when he allegedly drove a pickup truck toward them during a pursuit near Barona Casino in Lakeside.

Five days later, a deputy opened fire on an assault suspect, killing him, when the man allegedly charged him with a knife in his hand underneath a bridge near the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

Categories: Local San Diego News