Family of suspect shot in Fontana chase looking for answers

FONTANA, Calif. (KABC) -- The family of a man who was shot after being involved in a wild police chase in the Inland Empire is speaking out and looking for answers.

The Jan. 23 chase started in the high desert and lasted for about 45 minutes, rolling down the 15 Freeway and ending after the suspect exited in Fontana.

San Bernadino County sheriff's deputies tried to end the pursuit using a PIT maneuver to spin the vehicle around and box him in. But he got away at first and reversed past the deputies, clipping a sheriff's vehicle and almost striking a civilian car as deputies opened fire.

Now Christopher Bowers is in the hospital and under arrest.

"From what I understand his mouth is wired shut, and he has a trach, so he can only write," said his mother, Nicole Bowers.

An attorney representing Christopher Bowers believes the deputies' actions were excessive.

"We watched the video multiple times. It's anywhere from 28 to 36 rounds. Excessive, unwarranted, unjustified, and unnecessary," said attorney Sharon Brunner.

Brunner says she understands some people would say the injuries could have been avoided if he had stopped for the deputies. But, she said, there is a fear of law enforcement in the area.

"I know that's what everyone is going to be talking about is if he just stopped, let himself be taken into custody and have an investigation. But I think what people underestimate is that those who've dealt with law enforcement especially in San Bernardino County have a real fear of what's going to happen to them," Brunner said.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department released this statement:

"During the pursuit, Mr. Bowers armed himself with a handgun and pointed it at our deputies. He called 911 and threatened to murder the domestic violence victim who was in the vehicle with him, creating a potential hostage situation. He created an even greater risk to life when he attempted to run over the deputies."

Regardless, the suspect's family wants answers, especially to why it they say it took three days for them to find out Bowers was even alive.

"I understand he messed up, we've all done things we're not proud of," his mother said. "I understand he messed up, OK. But I have rights too, to know how my child is."
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