Flying Rock Prompts Shooting Scare in Murrieta
When a fire official was seriously injured Wednesday, officials first thought he may have been shot, but later discovered it was something else that injured him.
Murrieta Fire Captain Matt Corelli says the accident was reported around 8:52 a.m. Wednesday when "...a fire department employee... radioed for help after being struck by an unknown projectile in an open area."
At first, emergency responders feared there may have been a shooter in the area due to the severity of the man's injuries.
"Initially, it was unknown what the projectile was and consideration was given to the fact that a shooter may be present in the hills," Corelli said in a news release. "This was based on the severity of the injury and preliminary witness statements at the scene."
A sheriff's helicopter and Murrieta police armored vehicle were brought to the scene to search and clear the area, according to the captain.
"After the area was rendered safe, a preliminary investigation revealed the projectile that struck the fire department employee was likely a rock thrown from brush clearing equipment operating in the area," he said.
Corelli described the equipment as a large tractor with a mower attachment on it, which was being operated by Bear Creek maintenance personnel.
He said fire crews were on scene to help prevent any brush fires from being sparked by the operation.
The unidentified fire official was taken to Inland Valley Hospital's Trauma Center.
"The Murrieta Fire Department is in the process of notifying family members of the employee and supporting the employee through their immediate care and hospitalization," Corelli said. "The employee sustained serious injuries but is stable. Police department personnel, working with OSHA personnel, are investigating the incident as an industrial accident."