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A San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputy was shot Monday while trying to track down a motorcycle rider who led authorities on a pursuit in Yucca Valley before running into the desert, sheriff’s officials said.

Deputies were conducting patrol near Paxton Road and Imperial Drive just after 12:30 p.m., when they tried to pull over a motorcycle for not having a license plate, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.

But the rider refused to stop, leading officials on a chase.

The rider eventually fled on foot into the desert, and officers got out of their vehicle near Dumosa Avenue and Sunnyslope Drive.

While searching for him, a deputy was shot, the department said. He was airlifted to a hospital for treatment.

Sergeant Dominic Vaca is seen in a photo shared by the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department on May 31, 2021.
Sgt. Dominic Vaca is seen in a photo shared by the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department on May 31, 2021.

Meanwhile, the suspect continued to flee on foot but was later found, officials said.

“The suspect shot at the responding deputies and the deputies returned fire,” the department said. The suspect, who has not been identified, was then pronounced dead at the scene.

A handgun was located nearby.

The deputy, later identified as 43-year-old Sgt. Dominic Vaca, was pronounced deceased late Monday night. Vaca was a 17-year veteran of the department and was assigned to the Morongo Basin Station.

No other details have been released as the investigation continues.