ESCONDIDO — Holding the driver hostage, a San Diego resident led police on a multi-city car chase early in the morning of Jan. 26. The pursuit ended in Escondido when the kidnapper was fatally shot by a San Diego Police officer.
Just before 7 a.m., a San Diego Police officer attempted to pull a pick-up truck over for an expired registration near Interstate 15 and Aero Drive in San Diego, according to information from the Escondido Police Department.
The passenger in the truck, now identified as 27-year-old Aaron Devenere, forced the driver to flee from police by threatening to harm her.
The female driver, who was reportedly an acquaintance of Devenere, had initially agreed to drive him somewhere that morning. After being stopped by police, she followed Devenere’s orders for fear of her safety.
During the pursuit, Devenere called 911 and told dispatchers that he had a gun and was holding the driver hostage.
He allegedly said to dispatchers, “I have this girl… I told her not to pull over… I have a gun in the car that am I pointing at her.”
He also told them he had an explosive device in the car.
As they drove, Devenere grabbed the driver’s hands and claimed he would break her fingers.
He threatened her with an unknown object that he had pushed against her side. She was convinced that Devenere had a handgun.
The truck came to a stop with two flat tires from spike strips deployed during the pursuit on Centre City Parkway, north of Country Club Lane, in Escondido.
Believing that the driver was in imminent danger of being killed, San Diego Police officer Richard Butera fired a single shot at Devenere, according to San Diego Police homicide Lt. Mike Hastings. The shot hit Devenere and killed him at the scene.
Butera is an 11-year veteran of the San Diego Police Department. Hastings declined to say whether Butera had been placed on leave after the incident.
The driver was taken to Palomar Medical Center for non-life-threatening injuries inflicted by Devenere.
A search of the truck revealed that there were no firearms or explosives inside. Law enforcement officials found multiple knives in the bed of the truck.
Escondido Police Department is conducting the ongoing investigation, and considers the situation a kidnapping.