By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Deputies involved in fatal shooting identified
shooting pic1
Merced County Sheriff's deputies shot and killed Brian Hiatt outside of the Motel 6 on S. Walnut Road in Turlock on May 31. Hiatt is suspected of shooting and killing his wife and her sister hours before deputies found him at the motel. - photo by Journal file photo

The two deputies involved in the shooting of a murder suspect outside a Turlock motel have both been with the Merced County Sheriff’s Department for several years.

Merced County Sheriff’s deputies went to the Motel 6 at 250 S. Walnut Rd. early in the morning on May 31, on a tip that Brian Hiatt, 49, was at the location. Hiatt was wanted by the sheriff’s department for the fatal shooting of Ronda Hiatt, 47, of Mariposa, and Lisa Robbins, 51, of Hilmar.

At some point Sgt. Dustin Witt and Deputy Adam Leuchner made contact with Hiatt on S. Walnut Road. A cell phone video recorded by a Carl’s Jr. customer captured part of the encounter. The recording is too far to see the shooting, but it does capture one burst of gunfire followed rapidly by more gunshots. Hiatt’s body was on Walnut Road between the motel and the McDonald’s on the corner. 

The Turlock Police Department is investigating the officer involved shooting. The investigation remains open and only a few details about what transpired have been released.

Leuchner has been with the department for six years and Witt has been there for nine years. Witt was named the department’s Deputy of the Year earlier this year. Both deputies were placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the Turlock Police Department’s investigation, as per protocol.

The case will be forwarded to the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office once the Turlock Police Department has concluded their investigation.

The sheriff’s department suspected Hiatt of shooting his wife and her sister in the backyard of a Hilmar home on May 30. Family members said Hiatt and Ronda Hiatt had been married for little over a year and had recently been having marital problems.