Surrounded by a somber backing of leaders from law enforcement and the county, Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson announced one of his deputies had been killed in the line of duty.
Sheriff’s Deputy Dennis Wallace, 53, was killed by an armed suspect Sunday morning at the Fox Grove fishing access, Christianson said.
The suspect has been identified as David Machado, 36. Multiple law enforcement agencies are on the hunt for Machado. He is a wanted felon and is considered armed and dangerous.
“Unfortunately we do this far too often her in California and nationwide,” Christianson said. “You have to ask yourself where does it stop and where does it end. These are men and women who put their lives on the line every day to stand between good and evil to protect our community. Once again we’ve lost a member of our family.”
At 8:24 a.m. Sunday Wallace arrived at the Fox Grove Fishing access in Hughson in a marked patrol car and in his uniform. He called into dispatch about a suspicious vehicle and person and was quickly informed that the vehicle had been reported stolen. Wallace made a request for a second unit to come to the scene.
“Within seconds he was murdered — executed,” Christianson said.
Dispatch tried to make contact with Wallace multiple times, but got no response. Sheriff’s Deputy Christian Torres out of Waterford arrived at the scene and found Wallace on the ground shot. Christianson said Wallace was shot twice in the head.
“The gun was in direct contact with his head when it was pulled twice,” Christianson said.
The suspect had fled the scene. Information developed at the scene led to the identification of Machado as the suspect.
Law enforcement learned a person in Keyes had been carjacked at 8:40 a.m. Sunday and the individual positively identified Machado as the carjacker. It’s unknown if the individual suffered any injuries during the carjacking.
The vehicle Machado carjacked was a 2009 white Kia Rio with the license plate number 6JIS245.
Christianson advised that anyone spotting the suspect or the vehicle should call 911 immediately. He is not to be approached or engaged with.
“I want everyone to look for this vehicle,” Christianson said.
The sheriff’s department said they were actively working two locations in the search for Machado, but declined to give any details about where the locations might be.
“We will find him and we will arrest him,” Christianson said.
Multiple law enforcement agencies are participating in the investigation and the hunt for the suspect.
This is the second fatal shooting the sheriff’s department has suffered in recent years. In 2012, Deputy Robert Paris was shot to death while serving an eviction notice in Modesto.
Wallace was a 20-year-veteran of the sheriff’s department and leaves behind a wife and family.
“Dennis is well-known in the organization for things like the D.A.R.E. program, working in our early intervention and education programs,” Christianson said. “Dennis had a very special relationship with young people and a special place in our hearts.
“Even though this tragedy occurred we won’t stop,” Christianson said. “We won’t slow down. We won’t change what we are doing to ensure that our community is safe.
“This tragedy it’s happened again,” Christianson continued. “We did this in 2012. I never thought I’d be standing here before you doing this again. I want you all to pray for the Wallace family, to pray for public safety and I call for unity of support — a unity of support nationwide. No peace officer should be killed in the line of duty. Not one.”