Witness, deputy body-worn camera video shows fatal shooting of Ridgecrest man

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The Kern County Sheriff’s Office has released video footage of the Jan. 3 deadly officer shooting of a Ridgecrest man.
KCSO and the Ridgecrest Police Department have ruled the shooting to be within department policy, according to a release from KCSO.

The office released video footage of body worn camera footage along with witness cell phone footage, which shows the dramatic 30-minute de-escalation attempts between officers and the Ridgecrest man identified by the coroner as Kenneth Dexter Watkins, 46.

The video showed officers demanding Watkins to put down a handgun. It appeared Watkins refused, raised the weapon, and officers and deputies fired at Watkins.

Watkins was shot and wounded and was pronounced dead at Ridgecrest Regional Hospital.

KCSO Ridgecrest substation deputies responded to assist the Ridgecrest Police Department on a call involving a suicidal man armed with a gun in the 300 block of Sahara Drive, just north of Ridgecrest Boulevard in Ridgecrest.

The deputies who fired their weapons were identified as Jeffrey Ott and Jeffrey Portillo. They were placed on leave pending the investigation. The Ridgecrest officers who fired their weapons were identified as Laura Kenney and Corey Rinaldi.

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