DISTRICT ATTORNEY DETERMINES DEPUTY-INVOLVED SHOOTING IN 2018 WAS JUSTIFIED

The County District Attorney’s office announced last week that a deputy-involved shooting of a Yucca Valley man in 2018 was justified. Roger Tindell, 38, went to a home in the 7400 block of Elk Trail in Yucca Valley about 2 a.m. October 17, 2018, and shot Jonathan Lakes in the head, before fleeing with his girlfriend. Deputies located Tindell’s vehicle on Highway 62 and pursued him to Morongo Valley. During the pursuit, Tindell live-streamed the pursuit and stopped his car and fired eight shots at deputies before crashing into a Sheriff’s patrol car. Tindell was shot five times during an exchange of gunfire.

Roger Tindell booking photo from Henderson, Nevada

He pleaded guilty to two charges of attempted murder on a police officer and one count of attempted murder of Jonathan Lakes. Tindell was sentenced to 35 years to life in prison. Roger Tindell was extradited to Nevada in July where he will be tried for the murders of 40-year-old Robin McComb and 28-year-old Mellisa Mason, whose bodies were found in a Henderson home a week before the shooting in Yucca Valley.

SYNOPSIS FROM THE SAN BERNARDINO DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE:

On October 17, 2018, deputies from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department were in a pre-shift briefing when they received information that a double homicide suspect, Roger Tindell, was possibly in the Yucca Valley area. The deputies were told Mr. Tindell might be driving a Chevrolet Tahoe or Suburban, and he may have a 9mm handgun.

Later in their shift, at about 2:14 in the morning, deputies from the sheriff’s department were dispatched to a shooting in the 7400 block of Elk Trail, in the town of Yucca Valley. When deputies arrived, they located a witness and a victim, who had a gunshot wound to the head. The witness told the deputies that the suspect (Mr. Tindell) had left the scene in the victim’s grey BMW, with Mr. Tindell’s pregnant girlfriend.

At about 2:51 am, a deputy spotted the grey BMW traveling west on Highway 62, about a 1/2 mile from where the shooting had occurred. After an additional deputy arrived, they tried to stop the BMW. Mr. Tindell did not yield, and a pursuit ensued.

Mr. Tindell stopped the BMW in front of a residence in the 10000 block of San Jacinto Street. Mr. Tindell pointed a handgun and fired multiple rounds towards the residence, while his girlfriend was inside the BMW. One of the deputies who had been pursuing Mr. Tindell used his Mini-14 rifle and fired two rounds at Mr. Tindell. Mr. Tindell drove away from the residence and the deputies. The deputies continued their pursuit after Mr. Tindell.

As the pursuit continued, a handgun was fired from the BMW’s side door window. It was believed Mr. Tindell shot at the pursuing deputies, as the deputies could see muzzle flashes and hear gunshots.

As Mr. Tindell drove south on San Jacinto Street, a sheriff’s sergeant traveled north on the same road, approaching the pursuit. The sergeant swerved to avoid a head-on collision with Mr. Tindell. Mr. Tindell swerved towards the sergeant’s patrol vehicle, crashing into it, and then into a fire hydrant.

With his vehicle disabled, Mr. Tindell fired his handgun out the window, with his girlfriend still in the vehicle. The deputies ordered Mr. Tindell to show them his hands, but he did not comply. The deputies fired multiple rounds at Mr. Tindell, striking him in the arm and behind the left ear.

The deputies were able to take Mr. Tindell into custody. He was treated at the scene and transported to a local hospital.

Criminal charges were filed against Mr. Tindell by the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office for violation of the following sections of the California Penal Code:

Penal Code Section 664/187(a) – Attempted Murder

Murder is the unlawful killing of a human being, or a fetus, with malice aforethought.

(1) Count

Penal Code Section 664/187(a) – Attempted Murder of A Peace Officer

(2) Counts

On December 20, 2019, Mr. Tindell was sentenced to 32 years-to-life in prison.

CONCLUSION

The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department investigated this shooting. A review of the investigation, reports, evidence, and statements was completed by the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office.

Based on the facts presented in the reports and the applicable law, our office concluded that the officers’ use of lethal force was a proper exercise of their rights of self-defense and defense of others, and their actions were legally justified.

WHAT THE PUBLIC SHOULD KNOW

By providing a thorough explanation to the community regarding the review of officer-involved shootings, it is the intention of District Attorney Jason Anderson and the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office to maintain the community’s confidence and trust in its law enforcement officers and district attorney’s office.

Key Points of This Incident:

  • Deputies received information that Mr. Tindell was wanted for killing two people in Nevada and that he may be in their patrol area
  • Deputies responded to a call of a shooting. They located a victim with a gunshot wound to the head, whom Mr. Tindell had shot
  • Mr. Tindell led deputies on a vehicle pursuit when they tried to stop him
  • Mr. Tindell stopped in front of a residence and shot at it with his handgun
  • Deputies attempted to stop Mr. Tindell fled by firing at him. Mr. Tindell drove away from them and the residence
  • While in pursuit, gunshots were fired at the pursuing deputies from Mr. Tindell’s vehicle
  • Mr. Tindell crashed into a patrol car and then into a fire hydrant
  • Mr. Tindell fired his handgun out the window and refused to comply with deputies commands
  • Mr. Tindell was shot by deputies, bringing a conclusion to this incident

Deputy sheriffs are trained to respond to these types of situations, and they continually update their training as new situations and techniques are identified.

Additionally, deputy sheriffs have equipment on their belts, vests, and vehicles, which they use to complete their duties.

Deputy sheriffs are expected and authorized to use the equipment to protect themselves and others from suffering injuries or death. To some, watching a deputy sheriff using physical force against another person can be upsetting or disturbing.

Deputy sheriffs prefer to use the least amount of force, whether it be their mere presence or verbal commands, to diffuse situations. However, there are situations, such as this incident, in which deadly force is necessary for the community’s safety and the deputy sheriffs’ safety.

In rapidly tense situations, deputies do not have a great deal of time planning, revising, or analyzing a crisis, such as readers of this article. When a situation evolves, deputies must make the best decisions possible to protect and save lives in a condensed amount of time.

The community expects that the people they call upon to protect them, which is the sheriff’s department in this situation, will not back down, be intimidated, or run scared when danger presents itself.

When law enforcement receives a call of a gunshot victim, it is their obligation to respond to the scene and render immediate life-saving aid to the victims, ensure the location is safe from any further danger, and to initiate an investigation to determine the identity of the person responsible for the crime. If the situation presents itself, law enforcement will also arrest those responsible for the crime as quickly as possible.

Unfortunately, not every call is the same to the deputies responding to the call. The deputies may encounter different obstacles on each call and must quickly assess and render an immediate solution to overcome those obstacles.

On October 17, 2018, Mr. Tindell made the decision to shoot a person and then flee the scene. When law enforcement attempted to stop Mr. Tindell, he decided to speed away from them, to elude capture.

Mr. Tindell then decided to stop his vehicle in front of a residence and open fire with a handgun, with his girlfriend inside the BMW. In an effort to save lives, a deputy sheriff fired his weapon towards Mr. Tindell, to put an end to his rampage.

Mr. Tindell decided not to surrender to law enforcement, but rather, sped off again, leading the deputies on a pursuit. While traveling on the roadway, Mr. Tindell then decided to drive his vehicle into an oncoming patrol car. After crashing into the patrol car and a fire hydrant, Mr. Tindell chose to continue to use his handgun to fire rounds out of his vehicle.

Based on Mr. Tindell’s decisions, it was necessary for the deputy sheriffs to shoot their weapons at Mr. Tindell, which brought Mr. Tindell’s actions to conclusion.

Mr. Tindell placed the lives of many people in jeopardy that day, to include the lives of the deputy sheriffs who were attempting to stop him. Mr. Tindell is responsible for everything that occurred on October 17, 2018.

WE MEET CANDIDATES FOR MORONGO BASIN HEALTHCARE DISTRICT BOARD

Four candidates are running for the board of directors of the Morongo Basin Healthcare District: Incumbent Dianne Markle-Greenhouse, who is being challenged by Greg Brown, Denise Cullum, and Dale Mondary.  Managing editor Tami Roleff gives a brief highlight of the candidates…

Greg Brown says the healthcare district has two challenges: COVID-19, and access to healthcare. His top priority is to improve access to healthcare while remaining fiscally responsible.

Denise Cullum says the biggest challenge is to change the mortality rates and the disparity of maternal deaths among people of color, and her priority is to help the economically disadvantaged and give them equal access to quality healthcare.

Dianne Markle-Greenhouse says the top challenge is getting residents to use services offered by the healthcare district, and her top priority is to continue the search for physicians to staff the clinics.

Dale Mondary says the biggest challenge to the healthcare district is recruiting and maintaining qualified medical staff, and says the district needs to expand the services it provides so that residents will not “go down the hill” for their healthcare. His top priority is maintaining the balance between funding these services and building a healthy reserve fund.

Unedited responses from the candidates follow (in alphabetical order):

Gregory Brown

GREG BROWN

1. Why are you running for election/re-election?

I have worked as a Registered Nurse in the community, and witnessed some of the challenges facing the district first hand. For example: aging population, uninsured and underinsured residents, and the addiction and mental health crises, as well as poverty and being widely dispersed in remote areas all increase the challenges to achieving adequate healthcare. I would like to use my experience, both as a registered nurse and through years of management and budgeting in the Marine Corps, to help improve healthcare for our community.

2. What do you see as the biggest challenge/problem facing the health care district?

Today COVID-19 is the biggest challenge facing the healthcare district. However, prior to COVID-19 (and sure to be the case after COVID-19), the biggest challenge facing the healthcare district is access to adequate healthcare. Far too often the emergency room (ER) is used as healthcare, but that is not the role of the ER. The ER is intended to provide urgent/emergent treatment—a one-time fix. Healthcare encompasses education, diagnosis, treatment, follow-up, and continuity of care with the goal of improving quality of life and resolution of disease. Additionally, data shows that the ER is costly (more expensive than urgent care, clinics, and a doctor’s visit) and for the uninsured and underinsured can easily lead to bankruptcy. On top of that, the lack of continuity of care increases the likelihood of poor outcomes.

3. What’s your top priority as a board member?

My top priority as a board member is to enhance access to healthcare and improve healthcare outcomes while also remaining fiscally responsible. Contrary to popular belief, these objectives can coexist! Simply hoarding or spending money does not determine responsible management—particularly when done as a knee-jerk reaction. Fiscal responsibility in healthcare is driven by research and return on investment (ROI).  Data shows that it’s far less expensive to provide preventive care early than it is to wait for illness to progress to requiring surgical intervention and hospitalization. 

4. If you could change anything (with a magic wand) what’s the one thing you would change about the hospital/healthcare district?

If I had a magic wand I would increase the size and capability of the hospital. While it’s a good facility, as a result of the limited capabilities of the Hi-Desert Medical Center, many residents are forced to leave the community (go down the hill) for medical services. Having to go down the hill creates a burden on the patient and family, and is potentially dangerous as delayed treatment is associated with poorer outcomes. Limited capability can also affect our ability to retain personnel. Healthcare workers seeking to expand their knowledge and growth may feel inclined to leave the hospital for another that offers more exposure and opportunity, essentially making this hospital a career launching point, with staff members in constant flux. Of course, the magic wand is assuming the community is capable of supporting such a hospital (e.g., has the wealth and/or level of insurance to cover the costs of specialty treatments and larger staff).

Also, do you have a website or FB page? Email or phone number for people to contact you?

My Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/Vote4GregoryBrown/, and my email is info@Vote4GregoryBrown.com.

Denise Cullum

DENISE CULLUM

1. Why are you running for election/re-election?

I am running for election to the Healthcare District Board because I am concerned about Healthcare for our community.  I am impressed with the programs that have been offered by the Healthcare District and want to be a part of the future programs that will continue to provide equal access to Healthcare.

2. What do you see as the biggest challenge/problem facing the healthcare district? 

Ensuring that the Communities served have the opportunity and take advantage of the programs available.  Doing our part in the Desert to change the startling statistics regarding the mortality rate and disparity of maternal challenges of women of color during their childbearing years.  Champion the cause to uncover this travesty and educate/raise awareness to what is happening to our mothers and babies. Newborns of any race should have equal access to the best care to ensure preventable complications during their formidable years (0 – 5 years old) no matter where they receive their care.

Marketing of the programs offered.  I had the opportunity to tour the facility here in 29 Palms when it opened.  I gathered the literature to share if asked or needed.  Some months later a few of our employees needed healthcare but were unable to afford care.  I shared the information that I gained from the Healthcare site so that they could receive care.  I was surprised that they were unaware of the programs offered to give them quality healthcare, and this was months after the facility had been open.  I still find this to be true.

3. What’s your top priority as a board member? 

Insure the solid financial management of the funds given to the Healthcare District.  It is important that funds allotted to programs align with the Districts mission and vision.  Championing more programs that help the economically disadvantage and give them equal and quality access to quality healthcare.  

4. If you could change anything (with a magic wand) what’s the one thing you would change about the healthcare district

Healthcare would be the same for everyone across the board, regardless of race, creed color or social economic background.  This isn’t anything magical, this should be standard for all who live in Morongo Basin.

Also, do you have a website or FB page? Email or phone number for people to contact you?

My email is accts.cull@gmail.com

Dianne Markle-Greenhouse

DIANNE MARKLE-GREENHOUSE

1. Why are you running for election/re-election?

As an incumbent candidate, I’m proud to have several years of experience on the Board of Directors. Re-election is a promise to the future for the communities we serve.

2. What do you see as the biggest challenge/problem facing the healthcare district? 

A current challenges is encouraging the public to utilize our many service lines of care.

3. What’s your top priority as a board member?  Insure the solid financial A top priority is to continue the search for physicians to staff the clinics,

4. If you could change anything (with a magic wand) what’s the one thing you would change about the healthcare district

Magic Wand Changes: simply that people know we are here to help!

Contact through Factor page messenger:
                                Re-elect Dianne Greenhouse for
                                Morongo Basin Healthcare District

Dale Mondary

DALE MONDARY

1. Why are you running for election/re-election? I was approached by some members of the Healthcare District gauging my interest in running for a seat on the board. I began researching the role and responsibilities as well as actions taken by the board over the last few months and also started attending the meetings. I spoke with my wife Danette about this as well as other trusted individuals who have knowledge and experience about the board and they supported me and encouraged me to run. I have been a member of the Morongo Basin, and the Healthcare District for 28 years. I have been an active member of the community in various roles professionally as well as  many civic, volunteer organizations. I know that my time in law enforcement, in management positions,  has prepared me for this role. I have always met budget goals and worked at the Sheriff’s Bureau of Administration, where I assisted with their $450 million budget as well as coordinating capital improvement projects for the Department. Because of Danette’s role in healthcare in the Basin I am familiar with the Healthcare District, a vast number of employees of the District, Board members and the overall healthcare operational needs of the community.

2. What do you see as the biggest challenge/problem facing the health care district?  I believe there will be a number of challenges over the next few years including, but not limited to;  strengthening the infrastructure, finding funding opportunities, and planning fiscally for the future by building the fiscal reserves to name a few. But the biggest challenge is recruiting and retaining qualified medical staff. I don’t mean just general practice and speciality Doctors, but Nurse Practitioners, RN’s, LVN’s, Medical Assistant’s and other professional office staff, but most specifically a new CEO when the current CEO, Jackie Combs, retires next year. We have to expand the services that we offer and the areas of the District that we offer those services. We need to provide the services and the service area that serves our citizens to the best of our ability. Many of our customers travel down the grade to receive services that is burdensome to them. If we, as the Healthcare District, can offer those services local we are better serving our community and keeping the funding local as well.

3. What’s your top priority as a board member? Being fiscally responsible and prudent. We must build our fiscal reserves to serve us over the next 25+ years. While Tenant is currently operating the Hi-Desert Medical Center under a contract there is an out clause. With the amount of money in current reserve, If they were to opt out of this agreement (and there is no indication that will happen) the District could operate the hospital and clinics for maybe 18 months before running out of money. We have to prioritize funding and spending and meet that delicate balance of remaining current and relevant while building a healthy reserve for a rainy day fund. My top priority will be working with the other Board Members collaborative to meet todays needs and tomorrows goals.

4. If you could change anything (with a magic wand) what’s the one thing you would change about the hospital/healthcare district? I do not believe in making change for the sake of change. While there are things that I am sure I would like to see done in a different manner that change should only come with consultation with all the stake holders; employees and clients to determine how we can best operate. Again, while I don’t have any preconceived idea of making change just to make change, by the same token I do not believe in “well this is how we have always done it.”  That is not a proper response as we should have the historical knowledge of why something is being done the way it is, with the open mindedness that there might be a better way to operate. I would have to assess specific areas of operations before I could give a reasonable answer on what needs to be changed.

Also, do you have a website or FB page? Email or phone number for people to contact you?  I do not have a political Facebook page but I have a personal page that anyone can reach out to me or they can reach me at dalemondary@gmail.com

COUNTY CORONAVIRUS CASES TICK UP; NEW HOURS FOR JOSHUA TREE COVID-19 TEST SITE

Another 274 people have tested positive for coronavirus, according to numbers released by San Bernardino County Sunday (Oct. 4). No new deaths were reported. At the peak in July, seven-day averages of daily new cases were in the 700s for more than half of the month. The number of COVID-19 patients in county hospitals had been mostly going down since a high of 638 on July 25, but the number has been ticking up for five of the last seven days, according to state data.

The Joshua Tree COVID-19 test site at Copper Mountain College has new hours of operation from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.; they take lunch from 12 to 1. They cannot complete any tests after 3 p.m. because of the lab pickup schedule. The Joshua Tree site is advertising that results take 3-5 days, however many are receiving results in 12 to 24 hours. Walk-ins are welcome but if clients have an appointment it will be faster. The county says it will be expanding services to include a flu shot clinic in the near future.  

Here are the latest numbers, according to county and state public health officials.

San Bernardino County

  • Confirmed cases: 56,275 total, up 274 from Saturday, averaging 257 reported per day in the past week
  • Deaths: 962 total, no change from Saturday, averaging 5.3 reported per day in the past week
  • Hospital survey: 170 confirmed and 54 suspected patients hospitalized Saturday, including 43 confirmed and 7 suspected patients in the ICU, with 24 of 25 facilities reporting. The number of confirmed patients is up 11.8% from a week earlier.
  • People tested: 648,439 total, up 5,825 from Saturday, averaging 4,546 reported per day in the past week
  • Resolved cases (estimate): 53,299 total, up 319 from Saturday, averaging 174 per day in the past week 

REACH OUT MORONGO BASIN OFFERING HELP WITH ERRANDS

Often our home-bound neighbors need some shopping and errands done—quick trips to the grocery store or to pick up prescriptions, mail, or other necessities. Many seniors are having problems, they either don’t have their own transportation or are nervous about venturing out during the COVID-19 pandemic. Hilary Sloane says Reach Out Morongo Basin can help…

While Reach Out Morongo Basin has volunteers who can help the home-bound. These volunteers fall into two categories: one-time helpers who simply fill in when a caregiver is out of town or ill, or those who are regularly matched with a senior for weekly shopping trips. The senior makes a list and the volunteer goes to the store. The volunteer does NOT transport the care receiver to the store. For the safety of the neighbor and the volunteer, seniors are asked to purchase Stater Scrip from Reach Out Morongo Basin and give that to the volunteer to pay for groceries. It can be used to purchase anything at Stater Bros. stores. For more information, call 760-361-1410.

MORONGO BASIN THEATRE GROUPS GARNER SIX DESERT STAR AWARDS

The Desert Theatre League, an organization of 39 live theatre producing organizations in the Hi- and Low-Deserts, announced its 2019-2020 Desert Star Awards Sunday. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2019-2020 theatrical season was ended early. The Theatre League said fortunately, most producing members were able to complete the majority of their scheduled season before health guidelines terminated activities. Consequently, DTL judges attended and adjudicated sufficient productions to permit issuing Desert Star Awards in most categories.

Theatre 29, which had garnered 38 nominations, was awarded five trophies.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical  
Christopher Schoonover – “Little Shop of Horrors”

Outstanding Lead Male Performer in a Cabaret/Revue
Ben Costello – “Ben Costello’s Company B – On The Air!”

The Ladies of Company B are Sarabeth Matilsky, Jayme Zwicker-Bateman, Anna Carnes, Patricia Zuniga, and Britney Vachon-LaGuardia.

Outstanding Supporting Actress – Musical – Youth Theatre
Kathryn Villalobos – “Disney’s High School Musical Jr.”

Outstanding Lighting Design
Lisa Goldberg – “Little Shop of Horrors”

Outstanding Props and Special Effects – Professional
Matthew McAvene Creations – “Little Shop of Horrors”

The Groves Cabin Theatre, with six nominations, got one nod.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy
Bianca Danielle Stoker – “Educating Rita”

Thought Theatre had six nominations but no trophies this year.

The Hi-Desert Cultural Center closed prior to the COVID-19 closures and had no nominations.