A California man is being charged with murder after delivering a fatal punch to off-duty sheriff's deputy, Lawrence Falce, on New Year's Eve.
The man charged is 30-year-old Alonzo Leron Smith, a gang member that has spent most of his life in and out of prison due to various charges including street terrorism. San Bernardino County DA Michael Ramos labeled him a "career criminal."
"This person needs to spend the rest of his life in prison," Ramos said.
Falce was driving while off-duty when he quickly braked to avoid hitting a pair of dogs. He was rear-ended by Smith as a result and both men exited their cars. As they exchanged words, the situation escalated and Smith hit Falce in the face with single blow, who fell backward hitting his head on the asphalt.
"We believed that he was knocked unconscious almost immediately and he never did regain consciousness," San Bernardino Police Chief said in a statement.
After hitting Falce, Smith got back in his vehicle and, despite a witness who tried to stop him by ramming his vehicle into Smith's, was able to drive away unscathed. Thankfully, due to multiple witnesses and surveillance footage from a nearby store that captured the deadly but short exchange, Smith was arrested a few hours later.
SOLEMN SALUTE: Law enforcement lines up to honor 36-year veteran San Bernardino sheriff's deputy Lawrence "Larry" Falce, 70, who died of injuries sustained in an alleged assault following a traffic collision in his personal vehicle on on New Year's Eve. https://t.co/oPtXrQO04y pic.twitter.com/WGqe3UudOw— World News Tonight (@ABCWorldNews) January 3, 2018
Falce received a full send-off as his body was transported to the coroners and San Bernardino Mayor R. Carey Davis gave his condolences to Falce's family and friends.
Falce, who was both a 36-year veteran of the force and an army veteran, started his career with the police force in 1981 and worked serving his community for 32 years. He will be missed by many.
Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters