San Diego Sheriff's cruiser
A San Diego Sheriff’s cruiser. Photo by Chris Stone

The names of the two officers who opened fire on a woman in the Talmadge area were released Friday.

Sgt. James Balderson, who has been employed by the San Diego Sheriff’s Department for approximately 14 years and Officer Cody O’Riley, who has been employed by the Chula Vista Police Department for almost four years were the two lawmen who shot 32-year-old Candace Spears.

The events that led to the shooting began about 8:45 p.m. Monday, Nov. 28, when personnel with the county Regional Auto Theft Task Force came across a stolen 1998 blue-and-gray Ford Econoline van in the 4600 block of Collwood Boulevard, according to the San Diego Police Department.

“When task force members approached the van, they realized that someone was inside the vehicle. …  (They) identified themselves as police and asked the woman to exit the vehicle,” the SDPD said. “They were using red-and- blue lights on their vehicles and wearing tactical vests identifying their agencies.”

As Spears exited the vehicle, she produced what appeared to be a handgun and pointed it at officers, which prompted Balderson and O’Riley to fire their service weapons at the woman, striking her multiple times, the SDPD reported.

At that point, Spears dropped the handgun and was taken into custody. Officers immediately began rendering lifesaving aid until paramedics arrived, according to authorities.

Spears, who had an active federal probation warrant, remains in the hospital in critical but stable condition, according to authorities. Local prosecutors are still evaluating the appropriate charges against Spears.

Per the Countywide Memorandum of Understanding, the SDPD Homicide Unit was called to the scene to conduct the officer-involved-shooting investigation. Detectives recovered a handgun from the scene, where it was determined to be a replica firearm. There are no body worn camera recordings of the shootings, as the task force officers were in plainclothes, according to authorities.

After the Homicide Unit completes its investigation, it will be reviewed by the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office to determine if the officers bear any criminal liability for their actions, according to police.

The SD Sheriff’s Department and the CVPD will conduct an administrative investigation into the officers discharge of their firearms. The Federal Bureau of Investigations and the United States Attorney’s Office will also be monitoring the investigation, the SDPD said.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call the Homicide Unit at 619-531-2293 or Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477.

–City News Service


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Ellen Bullock