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11/2/2012 3:18:00 PM
San Diego Police kill man wanted by Blythe PD

Marty Bachman

BLYTHE - A former Riverside County firefighter who worked in Blythe, was killed by San Diego Police after going on a crime spree that included the shooting of an off-duty San Diego police officer.

Philip Hernandez, 41, who was wanted on a unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor warrant out of Blythe, robbed a man in a parking lot just before 9 a.m. on Monday at 8900 Rio San Diego Drive in Mission Valley East. Hernandez, wearing a jacket with "POLICE" on the chest, approached the victim at his vehicle, pointed a handgun at him and demanded his money and wallet. Hernandez got into a white, full-sized vehicle and was last seen westbound on Rio San Diego Drive.

Just before 12:30 p.m., the off-duty officer was robbed at gunpoint after using an ATM at 1600 S. Escondido Boulevard in Escondido. During the commission of the robbery, Hernandez shot the officer. He then fled the area in a full-sized white sedan.

At about 1:30 p.m., Hernandez and a female, later identified as Cindy Garcia, 18, of San Diego, approached a man in a parking lot at 6300 College Grove Way, in Oak Park. Both Hernandez and Garcia wore dark clothing with "POLICE" on the front. Hernandez pointed a handgun at the victim and demanded his vehicle. The victim complied and the suspects took his black 2006 Suzuki hatchback. A white Ford Crown Victoria had been set on fire in the same parking lot.

Shortly after 7 p.m. that night, the Suzuki stolen in the carjacking was recovered in Chula Vista. The vehicle had been set on fire at 100 Jefferson Street.

During the course of the investigation, detectives determined that a vehicle fire in the Mission Bay area just before 2 a.m. on Monday morning and a shooting in Hillcrest about a half hour later, that left a man critically injured, were also linked to Hernandez and Garcia.

On Wednesday night, a San Diego Police detective recognized the suspects in downtown San Diego. As police officers attempted to contact them, Hernandez engaged the officers in a gunfight. Hernandez died as a result of gunshot wounds received during the exchange of gunfire and Garcia surrendered and was taken into custody without further incident.

Hernandez came to the attention of Blythe Police on May 13, when Blythe detectives received information that Hernandez was maintaining a sexual relationship with a minor who was living with him. Hernandez was employed at that time by the Riverside County Fire Department, and stationed in the Blythe area.

The minor victim was contacted at Hernandez's residence where she was interviewed by detectives and then released to her mother, who had arrived from the San Diego area.

Hernandez spoke with detectives by phone but would not make himself available for meetings or interviews. Simultaneous search warrants were executed at both the Blythe residence and at a residence Hernandez maintained in National City. Both residences were empty of any property. Detectives also learned that Hernandez had removed his personal property from his work site on May 14.

Detectives requested an arrest warrant charging Hernandez with multiple counts of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor and it was unknown where Hernandez was since he left Blythe, until he was arrested on the outstanding warrant from the local case by San Diego police officers. Hernandez was released from jail on $20,000 bail and was due in court the morning he began his robberies.

Anyone with information regarding this case, or any other crime, is urged to contact the Blythe Police Department at 922-6111 or they can give their information anonymously by calling Crime Stop at 921-CARE (2273) or by email at .

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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Article comment by: JC Playford

Posted: Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Article comment by: JC Playford

Posted: Saturday, November 3, 2012
Article comment by: Former Blythe Resident

I saw this on the news and in the San Diego Union Tribune. The article states that Hernandez shot the man in Hillcrest because he thought he was targeting the Blythe police officer who had investigated him on the sex abuse charges. I wonder if the Blythe police officer knew that a psychopath was was after him.

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