A Rialto police sergeant was killed March 3 when an assailant attacked him behind a gas station, grabbed his gun and shot him once in the head.
The death of Sgt. Gary Wolfley, 30, was the first line-of-duty police death in the city.
Wolfley was transported to and pronounced dead at San Bernardino Community Hospital.
After shooting Wolfley and firing at another Rialto police car, the alleged assailant, Dennis Mayfield, 26, of San Bernardino, ran from a Shell gasoline station to a house, Rialto Police Chief Ray Farmer said.
Mayfield smashed through a window of the small, one-story house and barricaded himself in a back room, taking resident William Haverstick hostage and shooting him once in the leg critically injuring him, Farmer said.
When Mayfield reportedly broke into the house, a Rialto man in his 30s, who was staying with Haverstick, fled and alerted the police.
Officers from four law enforcement agencies surrounded the house. After five hours of negotiations, which included the help of Mayfield’s parents, Mayfield threw Wolfley’s .357-Magnum out the window and surrendered, said Farmer.
Mayfield was arrested at 6:45 a.m. on suspicion of murdering a peace officer.
Howard Bell, 25, of Rialto, also was taken into custody at the gas station. Later, he was arrested on suspicion of being an accessory to the crime, Rialto Police Lt. Brian Hebbard said.
Wolfley was on patrol duty with his wife, Candette Wolfley, an officer with the Fontana Police Department, early yesterday morning when he received a call of suspicious circumstances at the Shell gas station.
The sergeant arrived at the service station at 1:36 a.m. Two men, allegedly Mayfield and Bell, were standing near the gas pumps.
They apparently had gone to the gas station to search for someone with whom they had been fighting in San Bernardino late Sunday night, said Farmer.
When Wolfley arrived and identified himself as a police officer, Bell froze but Mayfield fled.
Wolfley chased Mayfield on foot and drew his revolver. Mayfield ran around the back of the gas station. Gas station attendants heard a shot and saw Mayfield running, Farmer said.
Candette Wolfley radioed for assistance. Rialto Police Officer Joe Cirilo arrived and sped after Mayfield, who fired several times at Cirilo’s patrol car.
One of the bullets blew out Cirilo’s windshield, Farmer said. Cirilo received minor hand injuries in the incident.
Mayfield ran about a quarter mile to Haverstick’s residence where he broke through the window and took the man hostage, Framer said.
Police evacuated an elderly couple whose house is in front of Haverstick’s residence and used their phone.
After five hours of phone calls, negotiations and the help of Mayfield’s parents, of San Bernardino, who came to the house to talk with their son, Mayfield surrendered.
Chief Farmer said Wolfley’s death is the first such death in his department’s history.
“It’s very difficult for us because we are a smaller agency. We’re like a family here,” he said.
Farmer said Wolfley worked at the department for 12 years. He started at age 19 as a dispatcher and worked his way up to a patrol officer, then a detective and finally was awarded sergeant’s stripes in May. At the time of his death, Wolfley was in charge of the department’s canine unit.
Wolfley graduated from Eisenhower High School in Rialto. He is survived by his wife, Candette, and a son, Christopher.