Wednesday afternoon, just before 3pm, deputies from the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department responded to a home in the 400 block of N. Verduga Road for a report of a suicidal male subject that had armed himself with a gun. Two deputies arrived on scene and started approaching the house.
As they approached the house, they noticed a male subject exit the home who matched the description of the suicidal man, according to the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department. The suspect was armed with a weapon and fired at the deputies. Deputy Steve Gerhardt was able to return gunfire and provide for cover and safety for three people on the property that were running towards him during the shooting. After the exchange of gunfire, the suspect retreated back towards the home. Once Deputy Gerhardt was able to ensure the three civilians were out of harms way and in a safe location, he and the other deputy moved to a position of cover and watched the house in case the suspect exited again.
An emergency call for assistance was broadcast over the radio and law enforcement agencies from throughout Stanislaus County and Merced County responded, including those from Turlock, Ceres, Livingston, Gustine, Newman, Modesto, the California Highway Patrol, and the Stanislaus and Merced Sheriff’s Departments.
A perimeter was quickly established around the suspect’s home to ensure he remained on the property as SWAT teams prepared to search for the suspect.
While initially on scene, Stanislaus County Sheriff’s spokesman Royjindar Singh stated, “We’re taking all steps necessary to protect ourselves and make sure the situation comes to an end safely.”
After SWAT teams searched and cleared several outbuildings, they located the male suspect deceased just outside of the main house on the property.
The suspect was identified as 43 year old William Nazar from Turlock. Thursday afternoon Sheriff’s Detectives released that Nazar died from injuries received from the return gunfire by the deputy.
Deputy Steve Gerhardt is an 18 ½ year veteran of law enforcement, and has been with the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department since 2001. Deputy Gerhardt is currently paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure for the Sheriff’s Department in office-involved shootings.
The Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department is not releasing further details of the incident at this time due to an active investigation. Detectives are working on finding the facts which to the events causing Nazar to shoot at Sheriff’s Deputies.
In response to all the resources used during the incident, Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson said, “The response to this critical incident was measured and appropriate based upon the suspect’s actions and choice to fire upon our deputy sheriffs.”